If you're a sailing novice who's just beginning to learn the ropes, Boat terminology can feel like a second language...

At Mylor Rigging, we want to clear up the confusion surrounding nautical jargon with a selection of our favourite nautical phrases that you should get to know before stepping onto a boat.

Boom: A pole at a right angle to the mast that holds the bottom of the sail in the correct position and shape.

Cabin: A covered, sheltered area of a boat for the crew to reside and sleep within.

Stern: The back end of a boat.

Bilge: The lowest part of a vessel, below the waterline, where undrained water from rough sea conditions, rain or interior leaks are collected.

Hull: The underside or body of a vessel that consists of areas above and below the waterline marker.

Waterline: Where the boat hull meets the surface of the water. It also describes a specific marking on the hull.

Sheet: The lines used in the controlling of the sails.

Line: A name for the marine ropes that are stored and used on a boat.

Bimini: A type of open canvas that is designed to shield boat passengers from rain or protect them from the sun.

Centreboard: A large paddle-like piece that is attached to the bottom of a boat at the centre to assist in balancing and to counteract drifting issues.

Rudder: A vertical blade located at the bottom and at the back of a boat, used primarily for steering.

Tiller: A tiller is a lever that is designed to steer the boat by connecting directly to the rudder or outboard.

Topside: The area of the hull that exists above the waterline.

Windward: Upwind or facing the prevailing wind.

Leeward: Facing away from the wind.

Bow: The front or most forward-facing part of a boat.

Capsize: When a boat is turned on its side due to error, hazardous conditions or onboard crisis.

Port: A nautical term referring to the left side of a boat.

Port Tack: When wind is coming in from the port or left side of a boat.

Starboard: A nautical term for referring to the right side of a boat.

Starboard Tack: When the wind is coming in from the starboard or right side of a boat.

Luffing: Steering a boat windward, or towards the direction of the wind, so the sails become slack and flap (or "luff") in the wind.

Mast: The tall central post that holds the sails of a boat.

Galley: The place on a vessel where food is made and prepared.

Jib: The smallest of a series of boat sails, positioned forward of the mast towards the bow.

Cleat: A t-shaped bar or block where ropes can be held and fastened.

Foredeck: The forward facing part of the deck.

Post By Ed Mason


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