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Glossary

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  • Abaft (Aft)

    Near or toward the stern of the boat.

  • Adrift

    Floating without mooring or direction, at a loss.

  • Alee

    On or toward the side of a ship that is away from the wind (opp. windward).

  • Aloft

    High above the deck of a ship.

  • Amidships

    Halfway between the bow and stern of a ship.

  • Anchor

    Shaped piece of iron attached to a chain or rope, and used to grip the sea bottom in order to hold a ship in place.

  • Anchorage

    A place suitable for anchoring, considering the wind and sea bottom. It is usually an harbor area in which the ship may anchor.

  • Astern

    At or toward the rear of a boat.

  • Athwart

    Crosswise. Anything running across a ship, from side to side.

  • Aweigh

    Raised off the bottom (for an anchor).

  • Backstay

    Rope extending from the top of the mast to the ship’s side.

  • Beam

    It’s the largest width of the boat (amidships).

  • Bimini

    A rectangular shelter that protects the bridge and the helm area of an open boat, from sun and rain.

  • Binnacle

    Box or stand that contains the ship’s compass. It is placed near the man who is steering.

  • Bobstay

    Rope or chain to hold a bowsprit down.

  • Boom

    Long spar used to extend the bottom of a sail. It’s linked and pivoting on the mast.

  • Bow

    It’s the forward part of a boat.

  • Bowline

    Rope to hold a sail steady when sailing into the wind.

  • Bowsprit

    Spar projecting forward from the bow of a ship. Ropes from it help to steady sails and masts.

  • Bridge

    The location from which a vessel is steered and controlled.

  • Bulwark

    A ship’s side above the deck that prevent the crew or equipment from going overboard.

  • Bunk

    Narrow bed set against a wall like e shelf.

  • Buoy

    Floating object anchored in a certain place on the water to warn or guide. It marks positions on the water, hidden rocks or shallows, shows the safe part of the channel.

  • Catamaran

    Boat with two hulls side by side.

  • Chart

    The map used by navigators.

  • Companion-way

    The stairway from the deck of a ship down to the rooms below.

  • Coxswain

    Person in charge of steering the boat.

  • Current

    The horizontal movement of the water.

  • Cutter

    Boat with a single mast and two foresails (a jib and a staysail).

  • Dead ahead

    Exactly ahead.

  • Dead astern

    Exactly aft.

  • Deck

    Floor extending from side to side of a ship.

  • Dog-house

    The low housing on the deck of a boat, to protect the companion-way

  • Draft (or draught)

    Depth of water that a ship needs for floating.

  • Ebb

    Tide flowing away from the shore.

  • Fender

    A buoy placed between boats, or between a boat and a pier, to prevent damage.

  • Fisherman

    It is the staysail between the tow masts of a ketch or a schooner.

  • Fore and aft

    Lengthwise on a ship, from bow to stern. At or toward both bow and stern.

  • Forecastle

    The upper deck in front of the foremast.

  • Foremast

    It’s the vertical spar located forward, nearest the bow of a ship.

  • Foresail

    The main sail on the foremast of a schooner. It’s also the lowest sail on the foremast of a square-rigged ship.

  • Forestay

    Rope or cable reaching from the the top of the foremast to the bowsprit or foredeck.

  • Forward

    Towards the bow of the boat.

  • Freeboard

    The height of the deck above the water.

  • Galley

    The kitchen arera of the ship.

  • Genoa

    A large jib.

  • Gunwale (or Gunnel)

    The upper edge of a ship’s side.

  • Harbor

    Place or shelter for ships.

  • Hatch

    An opening in a ship’s deck through which a cargo is put in.

  • Hawsehole

    Hole in a ship’s bow for a hawser to pass through.

  • Heel (to)

    To lean over, when beating into the wind or with the wind abeam.

  • Helm

    The wheel by which a ship is steered. By extension, it is also the position of control or guidance.

  • High tide

    The normal level of the water.

  • Hull

    The main structural body of a ship. This does not include the superstructure, the masts, sails and rigging.

  • Inboard

    A motor fitted inside the boat (opp. Outboard).

  • Jib

    A triangular sail in front of the foremast.

  • Jib boom

    Spar extending out from a ship’s bowsprit.

  • Jigger

    Small set of ropes and pulleys used on a ship. Small sail.

  • Jigger mast

    Mast in the stern of a ship.

  • Ketch

    A fore-and-aft-rigged ship, with a large mainmast toward the bow and a smaller mast toward the stern. The type of mainsail defines if the ketch is Bermudan, gaff-rigged or marconi-rigged.

  • Knot

    A unit of speed used on ships; one nautical mile per hour. One nautical mile = 6080.27 feet.

  • Latitude

    Geographic distance north or south of the equator, measured in degrees.

  • Leeway

    Side movement of a ship.

  • Longitude

    Geographic distance east or west of the prime meridian (Greenwich),
    measured in degrees.

  • Mainmast

    The tallest mast of the ship; on a schooner, the mast furthest aft.

  • Mast

    Main vertical spar used to support sails and their running rigging.

  • Midships

    see Amidships

  • Mizzen

    A fore-and-aft sail on the mizzen mast.

  • Mizzen mast

    The smallest mast of a ketch or a yawl.

  • Nautical mile

    Distance equal to 1852 meters.

  • Outboard

    A motor fitted outside the boat (opp. Inboard).

  • Pier

    Structure extending into the water, used as a walk or a landing place.

  • Port

    The left side of the boat when you are facing the bow (opp. Starboard).

  • Quarter

    Part of a ship’s side near the stern.

  • Rigging

    Ropes , chains, etc.used to support and work the masts, yards and sails on a ship.

  • Schooner

    Ship with two or more masts and fore-and-aft sails.

  • Scupper

    An opening in the side of a ship to let water run off the deck.

  • Scuttle

    An opening in the deck or side of a ship, with a movable cover (that can be tightly closed if needed),
    to let light and air run in.

  • Sheet

    Rope that controls the angle at which a sail is set.

  • Sheets

    Space at the bow or stern of an open boat.

  • Shrouds

    Ropes from a mast to the side of a ship, to help support the mast.

  • Sloop

    Sailboat having one mast, a mainsail, a jib, and sometimes other sails.

  • Spar

    A stout pole used to support or extend the sails of a ship; mast, gaff, yard, boom, bowsprit, etc.

  • Standing rigging

    Permanent rigging used to support the spars.

  • Starboard

    The right side of the boat when you are facing the bow (opp. Port).

  • Stern

    The hind part of the boat.

  • Swamp

    Be overhelmed by water coming in over the deck and gunwales.

  • Tender

    A small boat which attends a large yacht, used to transport people between the yacht and the pier.

  • Tide

    The periodic rise and fall of the ocean, caused by the attraction of the moon and the sun.

  • Tiller

    A bar or handle used to turn the rudder in a steering boat.

  • Topside

    The upper part of a ship’s side, esp. the part above the waterline.

  • Trim

    Adjustment of sails with reference to the wind and direction. It’s also the arrangement of weights in the ship, in order to get a correct draft at bow and stern. By extension, it is a set of equipment at the back of the boat controling of the lift-off.

  • Underway

    Vessel in motion, for example, when not moored, at anchor or aground.

  • Vessel

    A large boat.

  • Winch

    A mechanical device used for lifting or pulling the ropes that support the sails, turned by a crank.

  • Windward

    Toward the wind (opp. alee).

  • Yard

    A long, slender beam or pole fastened across a mast, used to support a sail.

  • Yawl

    Boat like a sloop with a second short mast set near the stern.