• Apparent wind

    Relative wind resulting from the boat's speed and the real wind.


  • Backstay

    Rear shroud holding up the mast and symmetrical to the forestay.

  • Ballast

    Compartment or tank used for balance by being filled with, or emptied of, water.

  • Beam

    Side, starboard or port of the boat.

  • Bear away

    To change course moving away from the direction of the wind.

  • Bearing

    The direction taken by a yacht in relation to north.

  • Becalmed

    A yacht is said to be becalmed when it finds itself without any wind.

  • Boom

    Perpendicular to the mast, the boom is a spar, which holds the lower edge of the mainsail.

  • Boom vang

    System enabling the mainsail boom to be pulled down to tighten the mainsail, thus making it more rigid.

  • Bow

    The front of the boat.

  • Bowsprit

    Spar at the front of the yacht allowing a sail to be put in place in front of the bow.

  • Breaker

    Huge wave, which breaks and rolls.

  • Broach

    To move suddenly in the direction of the wind.


  • Capsize

    A boat capsizes when it goes over on its side under the force of a violent wave or strong wind to an angle, which means that it remains on its side.

  • Chain plate

    The attachment point for the shroud or stays to the hull side.

  • Change of Tack

    A move from one tack to another turning the bow through the wind.

  • Cockpit

    Hollow space at the rear of the yacht, where the helmsman is and where sails can be trimmed.

  • Cockpit cleats

    All of the cleats (used to hold a rope in place), which are found in the cockpit allowing the various ropes on board to be adjusted.

  • Code Zero

    it's a big genoa

  • Coffee grinder

    Piece of deck hardware forming a pedestal winch. This geared system offers a lot of power enabling sails to be trimmed.

  • Come about

    To carry out a change of tack.


  • Daggerboard

    Vertical fins, which are slotted under the hull of a yacht to reduce drift.

  • Delamination

    The various skins and materials making up the composite materials come unstuck.

  • Dismast

    To lose your mast following damage.

  • Displacement

    The weight of the volume of water displaced by a boat.

  • Doldrums

    Area of equatorial calms found in the Atlantic on either side of the Equator. It is a very hot area, where calms alternate with violent squalls.

  • Draw ahead

    The wind changes to a less favourable direction for the yacht.

  • Drift

    The sideways movement by a yacht in relation to its course.


  • Ease of

    To ease the tension on a rope.

  • ETA

    Abbreviation of Estimated Time of Arrival.


  • Foot

    Bottom edge of the sail

  • Forestay

    Shroud that is furthest forward.


  • Gennaker

    Foresail reserved for downwind sailing.

  • Genoa

    Large jib sail.

  • GMT

    Greenwich Mean Time, also referred to as Universal Time.

  • Gooseneck

    Swivel connection attaching the boom to the mast, allowing it to turn.

  • GPS

    (Global Positioning System): Satellite positioning device.

  • Gybe

    To change tack with the wind going around the stern.


  • Halyard

    Running rigging used to hoist a sail or yard. Each sail has its own halyard. Harden sheets, to sheet in: to pull on the sheet of a sail.

  • Head upwind

    You are said to head upwind, when the wind is blowing in the opposite direction to the bow.

  • Headwind

    When a yacht is heading into the wind. Heave to, to lie to: To heave to means positioning the yacht to ensure her safety in bad weather.

  • Heel

    Angle at which the boat leans over.

  • Helm

    The whole of the steering system enabling the boat to change course.

  • Hook

    A hook system, which the allows the tops of the sails to be raised to the top of the mast.



    International Monohull Open Classes Association. Intermediate shrouds: Side shrouds coming down from the top of the mast.

  • ISAF

    International Sailing Federation.


  • Jib

    Each of the triangular sails attached to a stay at the front of the mast.


  • Knot

    Unit of measure for speeds at sea. One knot corresponds to one nautical mile covered in one hour.


  • Leech

    The back side of a sail.

  • Leeward

    Everything that does not receive the wind first is leeward. Lift, to veer aft: The wind comes around from the bow towards the stern. The wind lifts, when it becomes more favourable for the yacht to be on an ideal course.

  • LOA

    The total maximum length of the boat, including the bowsprit. Luff of the sail: The leading edge of a triangular sail.

  • Luff

    To manoeuvre to bring the boat closer to the direction of the wind.


  • Mainsail

    Chief sail located behind the mast.

  • Mainsheet traveller

    Track on which the mainsheet block moves.

  • Mainsheet traveller car

    Sliding mechanism on the traveller to which the mainsheet block is fixed.


  • Nautical mile

    Unit of distance at sea equal to 1852 metres (6080 feet or 1.15 statute miles).


  • Outrigger

    That's a deckspreader wich hold the mast up.


  • Points of sail

    Configuration and the angle a yacht sails in relation to the wind direction.

  • Pole

    Long spar placed more or less sideways outside of the boat used to spread the sheets on foresails (genoa and spinnaker).

  • Port

    The left-hand side of a boat, as you look towards the bow.

  • Port tack

    A yacht on the port tack receives the wind from the left.


  • Rating rule

    All of the rules, which define the specifications, which a racing yacht must satisfy.

  • Reaching

    Point of sail with the wind on the beam between 70 and 100° to the real wind

  • Real wind

    The real direction of the wind.

  • Reef

    System used to reduce the surface of a sail.

  • Reef

    To take in one or more reefs in a sail means reducing the sail surface.

  • Rigging

    All that contributes to the wind propulsion of the yacht.

  • Ring frame

    Structural reinforcement at the bottom of the hull

  • Roller furler

    Rotating mechanical system fixed to the stay, allowing all or part of a foresail to be furled.

  • Rudder

    Submerged part of the steering system that can be angled.

  • Rudder stoc

    Mobile part of the steering system that moves the rudder.

  • Runner

    Mobile shroud located at the rear of the mast.

  • Running downwind

    Point of sail where a yacht receives the wind from astern.

  • Running rigging

    Mobile elements of the rigging allowing sails to be hoisted and trimmed.


  • Sea-cock

    Tube with a valve passing through the hull used for connecting instrument detectors.

  • Send aloft

    Term used to talk of sails being hoisted.

  • Sheet

    Rope used to trim a sail.

  • Shifting gear

    Moving equipment and sails around the boat to stow them windward to reduce the heel.

  • Shiver

    A sail which flaps, when receiving the wind on both sides, is said to shiver.

  • Shroud

    Cable ensuring the mast is held in place.

  • Solent

    Sort of jib.

  • Spinnaker

    Foresail used in downwind conditions.

  • Splice

    Joining two pieces of rope or cable by weaving the strands of each into the other to form a loop or join.

  • Spreader

    Part of the rigging joined to the mast, which spreads the shrouds holding the mast in place.

  • Standing rigging

    Fixed rigging, in particular, required to keep the mast in place.

  • Starboard

    The right-hand side of a yacht if you are looking towards the bow.

  • Starboard tack

    A yacht on a starboard tack receives the wind from the right.

  • Staysail

    Foresail fitted to the babystay behind the jib.

  • Stern

    The rear of the yacht.


  • Tack

    (port tack or starboard tack): The tack is the side of the boat, which faces the wind.

  • Tack

    To sail often changing direction to head upwind or to optimise the yacht's speed by reaching (with the wind on the beam) rather than with the wind astern.

  • Tacking

    By tacking, a sailor can move upwind by changing tack.

  • Tiller

    Lever used to steer a boat.

  • To harden up

    To stiffen.


  • U-bolt

    Deck element attached to the hull of a yacht, on which a shroud is fixed.

  • U.T

    Abbreviation for Universal Time (equivalent to GMT).

  • Upwind

    Point of sail closest to the wind..


  • VMG

    Abbreviation of Velocity Made Good. It is the calculation of the speed on the ideal route towards the goal.


  • Waterline

    The waterline is a line drawn on the hull at the level of the water; it marks the separation between topsides and the bottom.

  • Winch

    Device used to pull on the ropes on board a yacht.

  • Windhole

    An area without wind.

  • Windward

    Everything that is the first to receive the wind is said to be windward.

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