64th Birkenhead Sea Scouts

Home | News | Resources | WebMail
Water Activities | Camps | St George's Day | Recycling Scheme
Sea Scouts | Leaders | Upkeep |
About the Scheme | Who's in it? | RN Inspection
Sailing | Kayaking | Pulling | Power
Terminology | Navigation Lights | Rules of the Road | Charts | Signalling | IALA System | Light Signals | Meteorology | Bosun's Call | Knots and Ropework
The Scout Promise & Law | Map & Compass






The Sailing Dinghy

There are many different classes of sailing dinghy, each with their own pieces of rigging and canvas. The diagram below shows the basic parts of a typical sailing dinghy.



Points of Sailing

This refers to the course on which you are sailing with respect to the direction of the wind.

When sailing on different points, the boat and sails have to be trimmed accordingly to achieve best performance. The basic areas which need attention are:

These are commonly known as the five essentials.





Sailing terminology

With sailing comes a whole load of terminology including (but not limited to) the parts of the boat itself, the direction you are sailing, the crew commands as well as the general speak.

Some of the common terms are shown below to get you started:


Apparent Wind - the direction of the wind as is relative to the speed and direction of the boat

Backstay - a support wire that runs from the top of the mast to the stern

Battens - thin, stiff strips of plastic or wood, placed in pockets in the leech of a sail, to assist in keeping its form

Beam reach - a point of sail where the boat is sailing at a right angle to the wind

Bolt Rope - a rope sewn into the luff of a sail for use in attaching to the standing rigging

Boom - the horizontal spar which the foot of a sail is attached to

Bowspirt - a spar extending forward from the bow

Broach - to spin out of control, either causing or nearly causing a capsize.

Broad reach - a point of sail where the boat is sailing away from the wind, but not directly downwind

By the Lee - sailing with the wind coming from behind, and slightly to the side, that the sails are on

Capsize - to turn a boat over

Centerboard - a fin shaped, often removable, board that extends from the bottom of the boat as a keel

Cleat - a fitting used to secure a line to

Clew - the lower aft corner of a sail

Close hauled - a point of sail where the boat is sailing as close to the wind as possible

Close reach - a point of sail where the boat is sailing towards the wind but is not close hauled

Downhaul - a line, attached to the tack, that adjusts tension in the sail

Drift - the leeway, or movement of the boat, when not under power, or when being pushed sideways while under power

Foot - the bottom part of a sail

Foremast - the forward mast of a boat with more that one mast

Foresail - the jib

Forestay - a wire support line from the mast to the bow

Furl - to fold or roll a sail and secure it to its main support

Genoa - a large foresail that overlaps the mainsail

Gooseneck - a device that connects the boom to the mast

Halyard - the line used to raise and lower the sail

Head - top of the sail

Head to Wind - the bow turned into the wind, sails luffing

Headsail - a sail forward of the mast, a foresail

Heave To - to stop a boat and maintain position (with some leeway) by balancing rudder and sail to prevent forward movement, a boat stopped this way is "hove to"

Helm - the tiller or wheel, and surrounding area

Helmsman - the member of the crew responsible for steering

Heel - the leeward lean of the boat caused by the winds action on the sails

Hike - leaning out over the side of the boat to balance it

Hoist - to raise aloft

In Irons - having turned onto the wind or lost the wind, stuck and unable to make headway

Jib - a foresail, a triangle shaped sail forward of the mast

Jibe - a change of tack while going downwind

Kicking Strap - a line that adjusts downward tension on the boom

Leech - the back edge of a sail

Lee Ho - the command given to inform the crew that the helm is being turned quickly to leeward, turning the boat windward

Leeward - downwind

List - the leaning of a boat to the side because of excess weight on that side

Luff - the front edge of a sail, and the flapping in the wind of the front of the sail (luffing)

Mainsheet - the line that controls the boom

Mizzen - the shorter mast behind the main mast on a ketch or yawl

Outhaul - the line that adjust tension along the foot of the sail along the boom

Painter - a line tied to the bow of a small boat for the purpose of securing it to a dock or to the shore

Port tack - sailing with the wind coming from the port side, with the boom on the starboard side

Reach - sailing with a beam wind

Ready about - prepare to come about

Reef - to reduce the size of a sail

Rigging - the standing rigging is the mast and support lines, running rigging is the lines with which you adjust the sails

Running - a point of sail, going directly downwind

Sheet - a line used to control the sail

Shrouds - support wires for the mast

Spinnaker - a large, light sail used in downwind sailing

Spreaders - struts used to hold the shrouds away from the mast

Starboard tack - a course with the wind coming from starboard and the boom on the port side

Tack - 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

Tiller - controls the rudder and is used for steering

Topping lift - a line that holds up the boom when it is not being used, also the line that controls the height of a spinnaker pole

Traveler - a device that the mainsheet may be attached to which allows its position to be adjusted

Trim - to adjust the sails, also the position of the sails

Windward - upwind

Site Map | Feedback | Contact Us |