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Chapter 34
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Glossary

ABAFT

Behind. On the after side of.

ABEAM

At right angles to the centreline of the boat.

AFT

Near the stern.

A HULL; TO LIE

To lie under bare poles.

APPROACHES

The waterways that give access or passage to harbours, channels, etc.

BACK

Change of wind direction in anti-clockwise direction.

BACKSTAYS

Rigging leading aft from masthead to support a mast.

BAR

A shallow patch extending across some harbour entrances.

BATTEN

Flat stiffener to after edge (Leech) of a sail.

BEACON

A fixed artificial navigation mark, lit or unlit, set on the shore or rocks.

BEAM

Width of a boat.

BEAM-ENDS

A vessel is on her beam-ends when hove over until her decks are nearly vertical.

BEAM, ON THE

In a direction abeam of the vessel.

BEAR A HAND

Assist.

BEAR AWAY

Turn away from the wind.

BEAR DOWN

To approach from windward.

BERTH; TO GIVE A WIDE

To keep well away from another vessel or any feature.

BEAT, TO

The process of gaining towards the direction from which the wind blows by sailing a zigzag course towards the wind.

BEND ON; TO

Secure a rope. To fit a sail.

BERMUDAN RIG

Rig where a tall triangular sail is set aft of the mast.

BILGES

Bottom of boat where water collects.

BLOCK

Pulley.

BLOWN OUT

A sail blown to pieces by a strong wind.

BOBSTAY

A stay holding the bowsprit down.

BOLLARD

Strong vertical post to receive mooring lines.

BOOMKIN

Spar extending aft of stern to which mizzen sheets are secured.

BOOT-TOPPING

A band of paint at the waterline between "wind and water".

BOSUNS CHAIR

Canvas or wood seat with bridle to carry a man aloft.

BOWSPRIT

Spar extending forward of bow to which headsails are secured.

BREAST ROPES

Mooring lines from the bow and stern of a vessel to a dockside or another vessel which prevents the bow or stern from swinging out.  Used in conjunction with springs.  (See definition)

BROACH; TO

To swing uncontrolled broadside to wind or heavy seas.

BULKHEAD

Partition separating different compartments of a vessel.

BULWARKS

A low wall surrounding the yacht, sometimes referred to as the TOERAIL on small yachts.

CABLE

A unit of measurement, being one tenth of a sea mile. (See Knot)

CARVEL-BUILT

Built smooth sided with planking edge to edge.

CATAMARAN

Twin hulled vessel.

CELESTIAL NAVIGATION

A method of calculating a vessel's position on the chart by measuring the angle of celestial bodies.

CENTREBOARD

Plate lowered through the bottom of a vessel to increase keel area.

CDI (GPS)

Course Deviation Indicator

CHART DATUM

A level so low that the tide will not frequently fall below it.  It is the level below which soundings are given on Admiralty charts, and above which are given the drying heights of features.

CHRONOMETER

Special accurate watch or clock necessary for celestial navigation.

CLAW OFF

To beat or reach to windward away from a lee shore.

CLEARING MARKS

Selected marks, natural or otherwise, which in transit clear a danger or which mark the boundary between safe and dangerous areas for navigation.

CLINKER BUILT

Built with overlapping side planks.

CLOSEHAULED

Sailing as close to the wind as a vessel can lie with advantage.

CLOSE-REEFED

Reefed down to smallest sail area.

COACHROOF

A part of the deck which is raised for increasing headroom inside.

COCKED HAT

The triangle sometimes formed by the intersection of three lines of bearing on the chart.

COCKPIT

Open area where steering is situated.

COG (GPS)

Course Over Ground.

COME ABOUT(or TACK)

To head the boat into the wind and then steer a course with the wind coming over the opposite side of the boat when beating or tacking to windward.

CONTOUR

A line joining points of the same height above or depths below, the chart datum.

CORIOLIS FORCE

An apparent force acting on a body in motion, due to the rotation of the Earth, causing deflection (e.g. winds and currents), to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.

COUNTER

An overhang of the stern.

COURSE

The intended direction of the vessels head.

COURSE MADE GOOD

The resultant horizontal direction of actual travel. The direction of a point of arrival from a point of departure.

CTS (GPS)

Course to Steer

CROSS TREES / SPREADERS

Cross bars on the main mast to spread the load of the rigging and lessen strain.

CURRENT

The non-tidal horizontal movement of the sea which may be in the upper, lower or in all layers.  In some areas this may be nearly constant in rate and direction while in others it may vary seasonally or fluctuate with changes in meteorological conditions.

CUT

The intersection on the chart of two or more position lines.

CUTTER

A vessel rigged with two foresails in line.

DEAD BEFORE

With the wind exactly aft of the vessel.

DISPLACEMENT

The weight of water displaced by a vessel.

DEAD RECKONING(DR)

Finding the vessel's position by using the compass, the log ( or estimate of miles run).

DEGAUSSING RANGE

An area about 2 cables in extent set aside for measuring ships magnetic fields. Sensing instruments are installed on the seabed in the range with cables leading to a control ashore.

DEPTH

The vertical distance from the sea surface to the seabed, at any state of the tide.

DOWNHAUL

A rope for pulling down a sail or boom.

DRAUGHT

The depth of water occupied by a vessel at any time.

DSC

Digital Selective Calling.

EARRING

Rope used for bending a clew cringle to a boom.

ECHO SOUNDER

An electronic device which measures the depth of water under the sounding head by means of electrical impulses.

ESTIMATED POSITION (EP)

Vessel's position after wind and current effects have been applied to DR.

EPE (GPS)

Estimated Position Error

ETE (GPS)

Estimated Time Enroute

ETA (GPS)

Estimated Time of Arrival

FAIRWAY

The main navigable channel, often buoyed, in a river, or running through or into a harbour.

FATHOM

A unit of measurement used for soundings.  Equal to six feet.

FETCH

The area of the sea surface over which seas are generated by a wind having a constant direction and speed.

FENDER

Any device placed between a vessel's topsides and a jetty or another vessel to avoid damaging contact. Normally of tough plastic, air filled.

FILL

When the wind stretches the sheets and "fills" the sail.

FIX

The position of the vessel determined by observations.

FLUSH DECKED

Vessel without a coachroof.

FOREPEAK

The forward compartment of a vessel.

FORCE

A system of designating the winds force called the Beaufort Scale and graduated from zero (complete calm) to force 12 (hurricane).

FORE-REACHING

To make headway when hove to.

FORESTAY

The stay on which the foresail or headsail is attached and which also holds the mast upright.

FOLLOWING SEA

One running in the same direction as the ship is steering.

FREEBOARD

The distance from the waterline to the deck.

FULL AND BY

Closehauled on the wind with the sails filled.

FULL MAIN

A mainsail which is not reefed.

GAFF

The spar supporting the head of a gaff mainsail.

GAT

A swashway, gut or natural channel through shoals.

GENOA

A large headsail overlapping the mast.

GIMBALS

Arrangements of suspending a ship's stove or lamps so that they remain level when the ship rolls.

GMDSS

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

GPS

Global Positioning System.

GYBE

Turning the vessel so the wind will strike from the opposite side by turning downwind as opposed to tacking.  Gybing is considered dangerous by many, but is only so when the crew is taken unawares.  It is then called accidental gybing and a severe accidental gybe can dismast a vessel.

GOOSENECK

A swivel fitting that secures the boom to the mast.

GUY

Forward line to prevent a spar from slamming at sea.

HALYARD or HALLIARD

A rope or wire used for hoisting a sail.

HAND, TO

To lower, take in or furl a sail.

HANDY BILLY

A system of blocks and tackles to reduce the effort required to do any task

HARD

A strip of gravel, stone or concrete, built on a beach across the foreshore to facilitate landing or the hauling up of boats.

HEADS

The toilet.

HEADSAIL

Any sail set forward of the mast.

HEAD SEA

A sea coming from the direction in which a vessel is heading; the opposite to a following sea.

HEADING

Synonymous with vessels head.

HEAVE TO

To slow down a vessel by making one or more sails counteract the other.  Heaving to also helps steady a vessel in strong winds and keep her head into the wind.

HELM

A vessel's steering device.  Usually a tiller or a wheel.

IALA

International Association of Lighthouse Authorities.

JAMMING CLEAT

Cleat with V-shaped jaws that "jam" and hold a rope fast.

JIB

Triangular sail set at the forward end of vessel.

JURY RIG

Improvised rig to work a disabled vessel to port.

KEDGE

Auxiliary anchor for mooring a vessel.

KEDGE; TO

To carry out an anchor and haul or winch a vessel up to it, also used to moor for short stops.

KETCH

A twin masted vessel with the aft mast stepped forward of the rudder post.

KNOT

A nautical speed measure equaling one nautical mile per hour.  A nautical mile is 6080 feet (1852m) and is the distance subtended by one minute of latitude.

KNOCKED DOWN

Violently heeled over and out of control.

LATITUDE

Degrees North or South of the equator.

LEADING LIGHTS

Lights at different elevations so situated as to define a leading line when in transit.

LANYARDS

Small lines to make anything fast. Formerly rope rove through deadeyes to set up rigging.

LEEBOARD

Large board that suspends over the side to lessen leeway, also bunk boards or cloths.

LEESHORE

A shore downwind of a vessel (no longer such a danger to modern sailing craft as it was to the square riggers, provided the wind is not so strong that no sail can be carried.  However still beware).

LEEWARD

Downwind.

LEEWAY

The drift of a vessel sideways due to the pressure of the wind. The smaller the keel the greater the leeway.

LET DRAW

To allow a vessel to fill on the correct tack.

LOA

Abbreviation of length overall of a vessel.

LOG

An instrument which measures the distance covered through the water.

LOG BOOK

Concise daily record of things of importance aboard ship, often abbreviated to log.

LONGITUDE

Degrees East or West of Greenwich Meridian.

LWL

Abbreviation for load waterline length which is the length of the hull immersed in water when the vessel is floating normally.

MAST TRACK

A track running up the mast to carry the luff of the mainsail.

MIZZEN MAST

The aft mast of a ketch or yawl.

MOORED

To secure a vessel, craft, or boat, or other floating object by ropes, chains, etc, to the shore or to anchors.  Also, to ride with both anchors down laid at some distance apart and the vessel lying midway between them..

NAVIGATION

The art of determining a vessels position and of taking her safely from one place to another.

OUTHAUL

A line used to haul a sail out to the extremity of a spar.

OVERHANG

That part of a vessel which overhangs the water measured from the waterline of a hull.

PAY OFF

A vessel is said to pay off when her head falls away from the wind.

PILOT (Book)

A guide book for seamen describing the sea and coast.

PITCH

Angular motion of a vessel in the for-and-aft plane.

PORT SIDE

Left side of vessel looking towards the bow.

POSITION LINE

A line on a chart, representing a line on the earths surface, on which a vessels position can be said to lie, such as might be obtained from a single bearing, or an arc of a range circle.

POOPED; TO BE

To be buried below a wave, when running ahead of big seas.

PREVENTER

Extra rope to prevent spars slamming at sea.

PULPIT

Protective railing fixed to bows or stern (when known as stern pulpit, or colloquially, pushpit).

QUARTERING WINDS

A wind blowing from aft at about 45o to the centerline of the boat.

REACHING

Sailing with the apparent wind 45o either side of the beam.

REEFING

Reducing the area of sail normally carried.

RIDE TO THE ANCHOR

To lie at anchor with freedom to yaw and swing.

RIGGING

The fixed wires holding the mast upright are called the standing rigging. The ropes and wires controlling the sails are called running rigging.

ROLL

The angular motion of a vessel in the athwartship plane.

ROLLER REEFING

A device for reefing by rolling the mainsail around the boom, or the headsail or mainsail around a luff spar or wire.

RUNNERS

The stays holding the mast aft and which have to be quickly released each time a boat comes about.  The weather runner is always tensioned.

RUNNING

Sailing before the wind.

SAMSON POST

Strong vertical post passing through the foredeck for making fast mooring lines or the anchor chain.

SCHOONER

Fore and aft rigged vessel with generally two masts in which the fore mast is no taller that the other.

SEA ANCHOR

A stout open mouthed bag used in stormy weather by small ships in an effort to slow down the boat by trailing the bag at the end of a heavy rope or the anchor chain.

SEACOCK

A valve bonded or bolted to the hull which can be shut off to prevent the inflow of water.  Used in conjunction with sink outlets, toilet intake and outlet, cooling water intake etc.

SEA ROOM

Space clear of the shore which offers no danger to navigation and affords freedom of manoeuvre.

SET; OF THE STREAM

The direction in which a tidal stream or current is flowing.

SEXTANT

A navigation instrument used by seaman for measuring angles of heavenly bodies.

SHACKLE

A connecting link easily removed by unscrewing a pin.

SHACKLE (of CABLE)

The length of a continuous portion of chain cable between two adjoining shackles.  In British vessels the standard length of a shackle of cable is 15 fathoms (27.432m).

SHEER

A vessel is said to take a sheer if, usually due to some external influence, her bows unexpectedly deviate from her course.

SHEER LINE

The curved fore and aft profile of a vessels deck.

SHEER STRAKE

The upper line of planking on a vessel's side.

SHEET

A rope controlling the angle of a sail to the wind.

SHIPS HEAD OR HEADING

The direction in which a vessel is pointing at any moment.

SHOAL

Shallow water.

SHROUDS

The permanent wires supporting the mast on either side.

SLOOP

A single masted fore and aft rigged vessel with only one sail forward of the mast.

SOG (GPS)

Speed Over Ground.

SOUND

A passage having an outlet at either end.  An arm of the sea or large inlet.

SOUNDING

Measured or charted depth of water or the measurement of such a depth.

SPINNAKER

Large triangular sail boomed out on the opposite side from the mainsail when running before the wind.

SPRINGS

Mooring warps put out from the extremities of a vessel to the shore, at the opposite end of the vessel, to prevent the vessel surging backwards and forwards.

SPRIT

A spar which crosses a mainsail diagonally from the lower part of the mast to the peak of the sail.

STAND ON

To continue on the same course.

STARBOARD SIDE

The right side of a vessel when facing forward.

STAY

A fore and aft wire supporting a mast.

STAYSAIL

A headsail set on an inner forestay (from any mast).

STEERAGE WAY

The minimum speed necessary before the rudder will have control of the vessels direction

STEM THE TIDE

To proceed against the tidal stream at such a speed that the vessel remains stationary over the ground.  Also, to turn the bows into the tidal stream.

STERN GLAND

A lubricated bearing at the point where the propeller shaft exits from the hull.

STORM JIB

A very small jib made out of heavy canvas and used in stormy weather.

SURGING

The horizontal movement of a vessel alongside due to waves or swell.

TACK

A yacht is said to be on port tack when the wind is coming from that particular side and the main boom is being carried on the opposite side.

TACKLE

A rope running through pulleys in order to gain a mechanical increase in power.

TOERAIL

See Bulwarks.

TOPPING LIFT

A rope or wire from the end of the boom to the top of the mast to prevent the boom from hitting the deck when lowering the sail, and to relieve the sail from the weight of the boom.

TOPSIDES

The side of the boat between water and the deck.

TRANSIT

Two objects in line are said to be ‘in transit’

TRANSOM

The flat part of the stern of a vessel, at right angles to the fore and aft line of the vessel.

TRIMARAN

A triple hulled vessel.

TRIM

To adjust the sail for the best possible speed. Also to balance the weight in the hull.

TROT

A line or system of mooring buoys between which a number of small craft can be secured, head and stern.

TROUGH

The hollow between two waves.

TRYSAIL

A small sail of very strong canvas used instead of the mainsail in heavy weather.

UNDER WAY

When a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.

UTC

Co-ordinated Universal Time.

VEER

To pay out rope or chain.  Also shift of wind in clockwise direction.

VMG (GPS)

Velocity Made Good.

WAY

The motion of a vessel through the water.

WARPS

Heavy ropes for towing or mooring.

WARP; TO

To move a vessel by handling warps.

WEATHER HELM

The tendency of a sailing vessel to try to turn up into the wind unless the helmsman holds the helm up.

WIND; HARD ON THE

When sailing as close to the wind as possible with advantage.  PINCHING is sailing the vessel so close to the wind that the sails shiver. LUFFING is turning into the wind.

WINDLASS

Winch to haul up anchor and chain.

WIND-RODE

An anchored or moored vessel is wind-rode when heading, or riding, into the wind.

WORKING

The slight movement of the vessels various parts which cause it to leak.

WORKING SAIL

The fore and aft sails ordinarily used under average force wind.

XTE (GPS)

Cross Track Error

YAW

Unavoidable oscillation of the vessels head either side of the course being steered or when at anchor, due to wind and waves.

YAWL

A twin masted vessel with the aft mast considerably smaller than the main mast.  The aft mast is stepped aft of the rudder post.

The names of other parts of a yacht, sails and rigging are shown in the drawings in chapters 1 and 2.

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