Gain A Basic Knowledge

Know the different parts of a sailboat. It is important to know the different parts both for safety reasons and to be able to sail your boat as efficiently as possible. If you don’t know what to do when someone suddenly yells, “prepare to tack” or “watch the boom!” you may be in trouble.

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  • Block: This is the nautical term for a pulley.
  • Boom: The horizontal support for the foot of the mainsail which extends aft of the mast. This is what you want to watch out for when changing directions in a sailboat. It can give you quite a wallop on the head if it hits you.
  • Bow: This is what the front of the boat is called.
  • Centerboard: This is a (usually fibreglass) plate that pivots from the bottom of the keel in some boats and is used to balance the boat when under sail.
  • Cleat: Cleats are what lines (or ropes) get fastened to when they need to be kept tight.
  • Halyard: Lines that raise or lower the sails. (Along with the sheets, aka running rigging.)
  • Hull: The hull is the body of the boat and consists of everything below the deck.
  • Jib: This is the sail at the bow of the boat. The jib helps propel the boat forward.
  • Genoa: A foresail which is larger in size than a jib.
  • Keel: The keel is what prevents a boat from sliding sideways (“making leeway”) in whatever way the wind is blowing and stabilizes the boat.

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