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Short list of 10 Beginner Sailing Terms Everyone Should Know
By Admin Post on December 3, 2015

If you are just learning about Sailing, This article can helpful for beginner to overview of sailing basics with “short list of 10 beginner sailing terms that everyone should know.”

Knowing the right sailing terms to use on board a boat is not just a way of sounding super cool and impressing your friends. It’s actually very useful, and sometimes crucial in communicating while you’re sailing. 

The following are good terms to know before you begin:

  1. Aft or also known as the stern – The stern is the back or aft-most part of a ship or boat.
  2. Bow –It is important for defining two of the other most common sailing terms such as left of the bow (port) and right of the bow (starboard). *** “Anything near the front of the boat is referred to as being “forward,” and anything toward the back is “aft” or “astern.”
  3. Port – when you are facing the bow, Port is always location at the left-hand side of the boat. This is anything to the left of the boat. When you’re onboard, you can use this term pretty much any time you would normally say “left.”
  4. Starboard – when you are facing the bow, this is anything to the right of the boat. Same deal as “port”–only the opposite. Starboard is used to define the right-hand side of the boat as it relates to the bow, or front.
  5. Leeward or known as lee – It is direction opposite to the way the wind is currently blowing. When heeling over, this will always be the low side.
  6. Windward – Windward is the opposite of leeward (the opposite direction of the wind). Sailboats tend to move with the wind, making the windward direction an important sailing term to know.
  7. Boom – The boom is the horizontal pole which extends from the bottom of the mast. The boom is direction of the wind that sailboat is able to harness wind power in order to move forward or backwards.
  8. Rudder – Located beneath the boat, it is used to steer the ship. Larger sailboats control the rudder via a wheel, while smaller sailboats will have a steering mechanism directly aft.
  9. Tacking – This term has two distinct meanings, both of them very important. As a verb, to tack is to change direction by turning the bow of the boat through the wind. As a noun, your tack is the course you are on relative to the wind. For example, if the wind is blowing over the port side, you are on a port tack. If it’s blowing over the starboard side, you’re on a…you guessed it…starboard tack.
  10. Jibing – A jibe is another way of changing direction, in which you bring the stern of the boat through the wind. Whether you choose to tack or jibe entirely depends on the situation–what’s around you, and the direction of the wind.
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