Challenger Glossary of

Sailing Terms

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Replacing ropes
  • Battens          – Plastic stiffener rods in the sail which help to give it shape

  • Bear Away       – Turn the boat away from the wind

  • Beating           – Pointing as close to the wind as possible with the sail pulled in

  • Boom              – Horizontal spar attached to the mast and the foot of the sail

  • Bow                 – front of the boat

  • By the Lee      – sailing downwind with the boom and sail on the windward side

  • Clew          – Back lower corner of the sail

  • Crossbeams  – Aluminium tubes laid across the hulls to hold them together

  • Cunningham  – (or tack downhaul) control that tighten the front edge (luff) of the sail

  • Falls of Rope – The part of the rope hanging between two points

  • Foot                 – Bottom edge of the sail

  • Gudgeon        - Bracket with hole in it for locating a pintle to form a hinge

  • Gybe         – When sailing downwind, turning away from the wind and moving the

                 sail across the boat and the wind so that it fills on the opposite side

  • Gybing Lines – Two Lines running from each side of the kicker boom to the sailor in the cockpit to pull out or gybe the sail

  • Head               – Top corner of a triangular sail

  • Kicker             – Other name, vang. Pulls the boom down to tension the sail leech

  • Leeward        – The side of the boat that faces downwind

  • Luff               – Front edge of the sail (Also - Luffing = turning towards the wind)

  • Luff up        – Turn the boat towards the wind

  • Leech        – Back edge of the sail

  • Outhaul – Control line attached to the clew  to tighten the foot of the sail

  • Painter        – Rope attached to the bow, used for towing or tying up to a mooring

  • Port        – Left hand side of the boat when facing forward

  • Pintle        - Short vertical bar. Mates with Gudgeon to form a hinge for the rudder

  • Reaching       – Sailing with the wind blowing across the boat

  • Rig               - The mast, boom, sail and control lines

  • Running        – Sailing with the wind behind the boat

  • Sheet             – Rope that controls the boom and sail positions

  • Sponsons     – Outer hulls of a Challenger trimaran

  • Starboard     – Right hand side of the boat when facing forward

  • Stern        – Back of the boat

  • Stock             – Cheek-plates, hinged to the stern of the boat, holding the rudder blade

  • Tack        – Front lower corner of a sail

  • Tacking  – Turn the bow through the wind until the sail fills on the opposite side

  • Tell-tales      – Strips of material attached to the sail at one end to show the wind flow

  • Tiller              – A wood or steel pole the helmsman uses to control the rudder

  • Transom       – Back surface of the boat’s hull

  • Wake             – Small waves made by the stern of the boat passing through the water

  • Windward      - The side of the boat that faces the wind or, when running, the side opposite to the boom