Learn the Lingo: Sailing Terms You Need To Know

 

Sailing is a skill as well as a pleasure, and you will not be surprised to know that it has its own lingo. So, if you are developing your nautical skills, and you would like to know the difference between ‘sheet’ and ‘ease’  – then here is our guide to the sailing terms you need to know before you hit the high seas.

Bow

The front of the boat.

Stern

This is the back of the boat.

Port

Port is to the left of bow. It also refers to the whole left-hand side of the boat (from the bow). The port light on a boat is red and marks the left-hand side of the boat.

Starboard

Starboard is to the right of bow. Similarly, it refers to the whole right-hand side of the boat (from the bow). The starboard light on a boat is green and marks the right-hand side of the boat.

Starboard view of the Kyles of Bute

Starboard on our Jeanneau 44i, sailing up the Kyles of Bute.

Mast

This is a vertical spar that the mainsail is attached to.

Boom

This is a horizontal spar extending backwards from the mast that the sail is attached to. It is adjusted in relation to the direction of the wind to set the sail to the best angle to catch the wind and propel the boat along.

Deck

The deck is the part of the boat that you walk on when you are outside “on deck”.

Deck of a Flamingo Yacht boat - the gorgeous Hanse 400

The deck of Tramontane, Flamingo Yacht Charters’ gorgeous Hanse 400.

Windward

When you sail, where the wind is coming from is very important, so this is one of the important sailing terms. The windward side of a boat is the side of the boat nearest to where the wind is coming from.

Leeward

Similarly, this refers to the side of the boat further away from the direction the wind is coming from.

Ease

To let out the sails.

Sheet in

To pull the sails in

Trim the sails

To ease or sheet the sails to the optimum angle in relation to the wind direction to create speed.

Head Up

To direct the boat’s course closer to the wind.

Head Down / Bear Away

To direct the boat’s course away from the wind.

Tacking

One of the most basic sailing manoeuvres when the bow of the boat turns through the wind, so the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other. You tack back and forth to get to your destination.

Sailing up the Clyde

Heading up the Clyde. Beautiful!

Gybing or Jibing

This is the opposite of Tacking. This time the stern of the boat is turned through the wind so that the wind changes from one side to the other. The boom of the boat changes from one side to the other.

Are you planning to set sail on the West Coast of Scotland this year?

Perhaps we can help you with one of our yacht charters now that you know the sailing terms!  Flamingo Yacht Charters is based in Largs on the west coast of Scotland. We offer a substantial range of yachts for hire  – one of the best ranges in Scotland. If you are planning a sailing trip on the west coast of Scotland, then please do get in touch to discuss your needs.  You can find out more about us at flamingoyachts.com or on our Flamingo Yacht Charters Facebook page.

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