This frame will be used for the definition of terms. To view a definition, click on the bold hyperlinks [as oppose to this].


Two Length Zone: The area around a mark or obstruction within two hull lengths of the boat nearest to it.



Leeward/Windward: The windward side of anything is the side from which the wind is coming from.  The leeward side is the side in shelter.  Also used as directions, e.g."another boat to windward".



Steerage: The ability to control the direction of your boat.  You need to have some forward movement for the rudder to have any effect on the direction of the boat.  Therefore, adequate steerage is really adequate speed for steering.



Hike-out: On reaches and beats, the sideways force of the wind will tend to tip the boat over.  Most dinghies are designed to sail on the level so it is best to keep them there.  This is boat balance.  To counter the force of the wind, the crew sometimes have to "sit out" of the boat, using only toestraps to keep them from falling out.  This is hiking out.


Double Hulled: I don't mean catamarans, I mean they have one hull inside another.  They're supposed to be sealed together.  I think they're main function is to make the boat unsinkable but it's probably just easier to manufacture one hull for the outside and another for the inside, as oppose to one to for both, if you know what I mean.


Crew: The people controlling the boat.  In most larger dinghies there are two; a helmsman who steers the point and looks after the mainsail and the crew (the other person) who looks after the jib and boat balance.


Dinghy: A small sailing vessel of nearly any size (up to about 15 feet?) which doesn't have a cabin?  There's bound to be a better definition.  I'll get back to you on this one.


Points of Sail: The direction of the boat with respect to the wind.  The point of sail determines the sail and centreboard positions.  See a better explanation.


Tack: As in "starboard tack" and "port tack".  When you're sailing across the wind, the wind will be coming over one side of the boat.  If it comes over the starboard side, it's a starboard tack.  When running (with the wind coming over the stern) your tack is the side that the sail isn't on.  Very important for right-of-way rules.  See also a note on the word "tack".


Spinnaker: A large parachute type sail at the bow.  Used only when on a run.



Genoa: A large foresail which takes the place of the jib. Can be furled without taking it down.  Only on yachts.



Beat: A point of sail.  Also called "Close-Hauled".  When a boat is going as close to the wind as it can it is on a beat.



Run: A point of sail.  Heading downwind.  Boats travel faster on a run than on any other point of sail.



Sideways Drift: When a boat is crossing the wind at any angle it will experience a force transverse to the direction of travel.  This force tends to push the boat sideways.  This is sideways drift.


Abeam: Across the boat.


A Note on the Word "Tack": I think sailors have a serious vocabulary problem. I can think of five meanings for the word "tack".


 Last updated: 1200 Monday 17-08-98