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Sailboat & Marine Parts, Hardware and Supplies

Glossary of Sailing & Marine Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Boats & Sails

R SailBoatStuff

rake
the fore or aft angle of the mast. Can be deliberately induced (by adjustment of the standing rigging) to flatten sails, balance steering, etc. Normally slightly aft.
raw water
the water supply pumped into a boat from the body of water in which it is floating, used for engine cooling, toilet flushing, etc.
reach:
sailing with the wind coming over the side, or abeam
a course sailed between a beat and a run, with the wind coming more or less at right angles over a boat's side. On a close reach the wind is farther forward; on a broad reach, farther aft.
ready about:
instruction to crew to prepare to come about.
reef:
to reduce the size of a sail
to shorten sail, usually by partially lowering it and tying it off with reefing lines.
rig:
arrangements of masts and sails
...a noun indicating the arrangement of masts, rigging and sails that distinguishes a vessel by type
...a verb meaning to prepare a boat or some piece of nautical gear for service.
rigging:
ropes and wire stays of a boat
standing rigging refers to shrouds and stays, while running rigging refers to halyards and sheets that control the sails
the lines or wires fitted to spars and sails for support and control. Standing rigging is made up of the shrouds and stays that provide lateral and longitudinal support to the spars. Running rigging comprises the halyards, sheets, tackles, outhauls and downhauls to put up, take down and adjust sails.
ring lug:
a connecting device that is crimped onto a wire end and then secured to a screw terminal.
rip current:
as in tide rip; water disturbance created by conflicting current and wind.
roach:
the curved portion of a sail extending past a straight line drawn between two corners. In a mainsail, the roach extends past the line of the leech between the head and the clew and is often supported by battens.
rocker:
the upward curvature of the keel toward the bow and stern.
rode:
anchor cable.
roller:
a wave
roller reefing: reduces the area of a sail by rolling it around a stay, the mast, or the boom. Most common on headsails.
round turn:
line brought completely around an object to form a closed loop.
rowlocks:
crutches on the gunwale that hold the oars when in use.
rub-rail: (also rubbing strake or rub strake.)
an applied or thickened member at the rail, running at the rail, running the length of the boat; serves to protect the hull when alongside a pier or another boat
a strip of wood, sometimes overlaid with metal, extending beyond the topsides of a boat as protection from bumping on docks, piles, etc.
rudder:
vertical metal or wooden plate attached at the stern, whose movements steer the boat.
rhumb line
the path a boat follows when sailing toward a specific point on the compass; on a Mercator chart, a straight line.
run:
sail with the wind aft
sailing away from the wind source with the sails let out all the way.
running:
sailing downwind with the wind coming over the stern of the boat.
running backs:
running backstays; temporary backstays. a stay that supports the mast from aft, usually from the quarter rather than the stern. when the boat is sailing downwind, the runner on the leeward side of the mainsail must be released so as not to interfere with the sail.
running fix:
a position determined by the intersection of two lines of position obtained from bearings taken at different times, often on the same object.
running rigging:
the adjustable portion of the rigging, used to control sails and equipment.
running stitch:
a basic hand stitch that is made by inserting a needle from the wrong side of the fabric and weaving the needle in and out of the fabric several times in evenly spaced stitches.

S SailBoatStuff

safety harness:
a harness, usually made of webbing, worn over the shoulders and around the chest equipped with a lanyard for security.
sail needle:
a heavy steel needle, triangular from point to midsection, then rounded to the eye; used in sailmaking.
sail slide:
a small metal or plastic fitting often used on the forward and lower edges of a mainsail or mizzen to attach it to a track along the appropriate mast and boom. A slide may also be used on the head, luff or foot of a gaff sail.
sailmaker's palm:
a stiff leather strap that fits around the hand and contains an inverted metal thimble, used to push a sailmaker's needle through heavy sailcloth-also called a palm thimble or palm.
sail trim (set):
the positioning and shape of the sails to the wind.
sampson post:
strong post on a boat to which mooring lines are tied.
sea buoys:
the first buoys a mariner encounters when approaching a channel or harbor entrance from the sea.
sector:
a colored segment in the sweep of a navigation light. A red sector, for example, warns of dangerous waters.
scull:
propel a boat by means of one oar over the stern.
scupper:
drain in cockpit, coaming, or toe-rail allowing water to drain out and overboard.
scuppers:
overboard drain holes on deck.
scuttle:
a round window in the side or deck of a boat that may be opened to admit light and air, and closed tightly when required.
sea buoys:
the first buoys a mariner encounters when approaching a channel or harbor entrance from the sea.
seacock:
a shutoff valve attached to through-hull pipes
a shutoff valve attached to through-hull fittings near or below the waterline.
seat locker:
a storage locker located under a cockpit seat.
seize:
to bind two lines together or bind a line to another object.
seizing wire:
all-purpose wire used to bind ropes together or to another object.
selector switch:
a heavy-duty switch used to connect two batteries separately or together, to the boat's electrical system.
self-bailing cockpit:
a watertight cockpit with scuppers, drains, or bailers that remove water.
selvage:
the lengthwise finished edge in woven fabric.
serving:
a protective or decorative winding of tarred yarn, marline, or another similar material around a line.
set:
the direction of the tide or current, the leeway course of the boat.
settee berth:
a long cabin seat that converts into a bunk.
shackle:
strong metal link with a removable bolt
a metal link which can be open and closed for joining chain to anchor, etc.
a U-shaped fitting closed with a pin and used to secure sails to lines or fittings, and lines to fittings
a U-shaped metal fitting with a cross pin or clevis pin that fits across the opening of the U as a closure.
sheave:
wheel inside a block over which a rope runs
the grooved wheel in a block, or in a masthead fitting or elsewhere, over which a rope runs - pronounced "shiv."
sheer:
the line of the upper deck when viewed from the side. Normal sheer curves up toward the bow and stern, reverse sheer curves down towards the bow and stern. Compound sheer curving up at the front of the boat and down at the sheer are uncommon. Sheer strake: the topmost planking in the sides, often thicker than other planking.
shock cord:
a cord made of rubber strands bound in woven casing and used for such tasks as stopping sails, lashing a tiller in place overnight, holding halyards away from a metal mast at night, etc.
shrouds:
transverse wires or ropes that support the mast laterally
ropes or wires led from the mast to chain plates at deck level on either side of the mast, and which hold the mast from falling or bending sideways.
sister hooks:
a pair of hooks suspended from a common link and flat on their facing sides so that they lie together and form an eye when in use.
skeg:
for sailboats, usually refers to a structural support to which the rudder is fastened
a fixed triangular fin extending down under the stern of a small boat and aiding the boat to follow a straight course.
slack water:
the period of little or no current about halfway between maximum flood and maximum ebb currents.
slip:
a narrow berth for a boat, either at a pier or dock.
sloop:
a sailboat with a single mast that is stepped not more than one third of the way aft from the bow. A sloop usually carries only one headsail.
snatch block:
single block with a latched opening on one side
a block hinged on one side and latched on the other so that it can be opened to receive the bright of a line and then closed to hold the line securely.
snub:
to quickly check, by cleating or other means, a line that is running out.
Sole:
the floor of the cockpit or cabin.
sou'wester:
a wind coming from the southwest
spar:
pole, mast, or boom, etc. that supports a sail
general term for any wood or metal pole-mast, boom, yard, gaff or sprit-used to carry and give shape to sails.
spar poles:
most often of wood, aluminum or carbon fiber, used as supports, such as the mast, boom, or spinnaker pole.
splice:
a method of joining together two ends of line or of creating a loop in a line by interweaving the strands.
splice connector:
an insulated metal sleeve used to permanently fasten together two electrical wires by crimping the sleeve over one end of each.
spreaders:
struts attached to the mast to spread the shrouds
also crosstrees. short horizontal struts extending from the mast to the sides of the boat, changing the upward angle of the shrouds.
spring line:
a long docking line rigged to limit a boat's fore-and-aft motion, usually run from a boat's stern to a point well forward, and from the bow well aft.
spring tide:
a tide of greater than average range, occurring around the times of new and full moons.
sprit:
spar projecting diagonally from the mast to extend the fore-and-aft sail.
square knot:
a utility knot that is made of two overhand knots and used for binding together two ends of a line or joining two lines of equal size when the strain on either line is not great. Also called a reef knot.
stanchion:
an upright metal pole, bolted to the deck, and used to support permanent fixtures such as life lines.
standing part:
the inactive part of a line often near the midsection.
standing rigging:
permanent rigging used to support the spars. May be adjusted during racing, in some classes.
starboard:
the right side, from the helmsman's position
the right side of a boat (when looking forward).
starboard tack:
a course with the wind coming from starboard and the boom on the port side.
starcut:
a type of spinnaker whose cloth panels are cut in a distinctive star shape. It is used by racing boats when reaching or when running in heavy air.
stay:
a rope or wire running forward or aft from the mast to support it. The headstay is the foremost stay on which the jib is set; a forestay is aft of the headstay and carries a staysail; the backstay offsets the pull of the headstay.
stem:
the most forward structural member in the bow.
stern:
the back end of a boat.
stopper knot:
any knot used to prevent a line from running out through a block or fair-lead.
storm:
a range of winds from 48 to 63 knots; the generic term for severe foul weather.
stow:
to put away or to store onboard.
strake:
on wooden boats, a line of planking running from the bow to the stern along the hull.
sump pump:
small pump for shower drainage.
surge:
rising and falling of the sea, usually due to wave action.
swage:
a cylindrical metal shank that is cold-rolled onto the end of a wire as a terminal.

T SailBoatStuff

tack:
on a triangular sail, the bottom forward corner. Also, to turn the boat so that the wind exerts pressure on the opposite side of the sail
the front, lower corner of the sail, also course with the wind coming from the side of the boat, also to change course by turning into the wind so that the wind comes from the other side of the boat
tacking:
turning the boat so that the bow passes through the wind.
taffrail:
the rail at the stern of the boat.
tang:
a fitting, often of sheet metal, used to attach standing rigging to a spar, or to the hull.
telltales:
short pieces of yarn, ribbon, thread, or tape attached to the sail which are used to show the air flow over the sail; or when attached to the shroud indicate apparent wind direction.
thimble:
a grooved round or teardrop-shaped metal or plastic fitting spliced into an eye of rope or wire to prevent chafe and distortion of the eye.
through-bolt:
a deck fastening that penetrates the deck and is fastened below with a nut and washer.
thwart:
a transverse structural member in the cockpit. In small boats often used as a seat.
tiller:
the stick or tube attached to the top of a rudder and used to turn it.
toe-rail:
a low rail, often slotted, along the side of the boat. Slots allow drainage and the attachment of blocks.
topping lift:
a line or wire rope used to support the boom when a boat is anchored or moored.
track (TR):
the path a boat actually travels over the bottom.
transducer:
the sending-receiving device of a depth finder that transmits pulses to the bottom, and then picks up the echoes.
transom:
flat surface of a boat's stern
the flat, or sometimes curved terminating structure of the hull at the stern of a boat.
traveler:
a fitting across the boat to which sheets are led. In many boats the traveler may be adjusted from side to side so that the angle of the sheets can be changed to suit conditions.
trapeze wire:
gear enabling a crew member to place all of his weight outboard of the hull, thus helping to keep the boat level.
trim:
to adjunct angle of the sails to accord with the wind. Or the way a boat sits in the water.
trim tab:
a tab device affixed to the lower units of some outboard motors that compensates for the torque produced by the propeller, sometimes made of magnesium to act as a sacrificial anode to help prevent corrosion, a hinged plate attached to the transom of a powerboat to keep the stern from burying when the boat is run at high speed.
true north:
the geographic North Pole; the chart direction to the North Pole, where on a globe, the lines of longitude converge.
true wind:
the actual speed and direction of the wind felt when standing still.
tuck:
in knot tying, to insert the end of a line between two other lines or between two parts of the same line. In splicing, to insert a strand between two other strands.
turnbuckle:
a fitting used to adjust the length and tension of of a shroud or forestay
an adjustable fastening for attaching the standing rigging to the chain plates, and for adjusting the tension on the standing rigging.
turnbuckle toggle:
a small fitting, shaped like a shackle, at the bottom of a turnbuckle that fastens it to a chain plate-and allows more freedom of angle for the turnbuckle.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Boats & Sails

CREDITS:
A Glossary of Sailing Terms · Special to the San Diego Daily Transcript
Glossary of Sailing Terms · Oze Mail
Glossary of Sailing Terms · Sailing Gulf Waters
Glossary of Sailing Terms · The Seed Organization
The Time-Life Library of Boating by Time-Life Books 1975
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company

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