Hannah’s A – Z

As some of you know I am a windsurfer at heart so some sailing terminology even I don’t always understand!

As a bit of fun I have done some research of my own to share with you. Here is a list of sailing jargon. Some of it you will know and hopefully you will learn something too! If you would like a challenge, see if you can do an A to Z of nautical terms that are different to mine? Good luck 🙂

  • Astern – towards the stern (rear of your boat) or the area behind your boat
  • Burgee – a small flag you attach to the mast whilst your sailing to see the wind direction
  • Cunningham – sail control that applies downhaul on your boat
  • Deck – the top of the boat you sit or stand on
  • Ensign – flag or banner used by ships to indicate their nationality
  • Furl – to roll the sail smaller, pack the sail away
  • Gnav – this is an upside down kicker used in double handers to create more room
  • Hull – part of the boat that sits in the water
  • In Irons – when your boat is pointing into the wind and not moving, sail flapping
  • Jetty – a floating walkway used to moor boats, launch and land
  • Kedge – smaller, lighter, secondary anchor
  • Leeway – effect of the wind on the boat causing it to move sideways
  • Mast – vertical pole supporting the sails and rigging
  • Neap – type of tide that is when the sun and moon are at right angles
  • Outboard – a motor mounted externally on a small boat
  • Plane – to skim over the water at high speeds rather than push through it
  • Quay – a reinforced bank often in a harbour for tying up to and unloading
  • Rudder – the steering device in the water
  • Shroud – a rope or cable holding the mast up side by side
  • Turtle – when your boat turns completely upside down
  • Underway – a boat that is moving under control
  • V hull – shape of the underside of the boat cutting through the water
  • Windward – the direction the wind is coming from
  • Xebec – three masted Mediterranean sailing ship
  • Yacht – a larger recreational boat or shi
  • Z twist – clockwise twisted rope