Nautical Terms

21 May 20:

A glossary of terms, augmented with images.

Drascombe Lugger, Webb Chiles favorite ride for open boat ocean crossings :)

Aft - to the rear

Belaying pin - wood or metal rod used to secure a line.

Boom - spar used to control lower edge of sail.

Bumkpin - a spar that sticks out from the transom to control a mizzen.

Cunningham - line that controls the tension on luff from the tack corner.

Clew - lower aft corner of a sail.

Foot - lower edge of a sail.

Gaff - spar used to control upper sail.

Gaff rig - 4 corner, fore-and-aft rigged sail, hoisted by an angled spar that does not cross the mast, called the gaff.

Grommet - small metal rings that teat out of the seams of sails.

Halyard - line that raises a sail.

Head - top corner of a sail. Or the bathroom.

Jib - small sail forward of the mainsail.

Lateen - fore and aft triangular sail set on a long yard mounted at an angle on the mast. See also Sunfish.

Leech - aft edge of a sail.

Line - a rope cut for a specific use

Luff - leading edge of a sail or to let a sail flutter into the wind.

Lug rig - a fore-and-aft, 4 corner sail that is suspended from a spar, called a yard.

Mainsail - the main sail.

Mast - upright spar that carries a sail, usually the mainsail.

Mizzen - small sail aft of the main.

Outhaul - lines that set tension on luff and foot from the head and clew. See also cunningham.

Peak - top corner of a 4 corner gaff sail.

Pinrail - a rail with multiple belaying pins.

Pirate - someone who will "watch" your boat for you. See also Skipper.

Rope - a length of cord made with natural or synthetic fibers. Rope cut for a specific purpose becomes line.

Sail - fabric that catches wind.

Sheet - line that controls the angle of the sail.

Skipper - a nice lady who will "watch" your boat for you. See also Pirate.

Sliding Gunter - 2 part spars for mainsail, lower mast fixed and upper gaff raised with halyard.

Spar - poles used to support sails.

Sprit - small diagonal spar that supports upper aft corner of 4 corner sail. Can also be used for a boom.

Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES sprit rig out for Sea Trials, Functional Test Float (FCF) for v1.0 of sheet and pop up rudder.

Sprit rig - 4 corner fore and aft sail supported at its highest points by the mast and a diagonally running spar known as the sprit.

Square rig - 4 corner sail carried on horizontal spars which are perpendicular, or square, to the masts.

USS Portsmouth 1850

Sunfish - 13' 9" pontoon hull sailing dinghy with 75 square foot lateen sail.

Developed by ALCORT in 1952, first models were wooden.

Fiberglass model introduced in 1960, still produced today by Laser Performance. Over 400,000 built.

Favorite boat for the Pirate Skipper.

Tack - lower forward corner of a sail or changing course with wind from ahead. Shown below is the tack of the sail, with a downhaul line that goes up from the mast thwart, through the tack ring and back down to a belaying pin.

Throat - Top edge of a 4 corner gaff sail.

Yard - a sail spar that crosses a mast, most often horizontal or at an angle. Examples are square rig and lug rig. Drascombe Dabber VICTORY standing lug rig shown below.

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