Parts of a Boat



Basic Terms

Rudder: A spade-like object at the back of the boat that steers the boat by deflection of the water.
Tiller: The lever that controls the rudder.
Winches: A mechanical device used to increase pulling power on a line. (purchase)
Fairleads: Eyes or blocks that guide lines in a desired direction. Usually they are used for jibsheets.
Gooseneck: The fitting that connects the boom to the mast. It works like a swivel allowing the boom to move up and down and swing from side to side.
Keel: The weighted fin at the bottom of the boat that keeps the boat from slipping sideways through the water.
Bow: Front end of the boat.
Stanchions:Vertical posts that hold lifelines in place.
Pulpit: Safety rail at the bow of the boat.
Stern: Back end of the boat.
Port: The left side of the boat when facing forward.
Starboard: The right side of the boat when facing forward.


Rigging Terms

Mast: The large vertical spar that supports the sail and boom.
Boom: The horizontal spar used to hold and extend the foot of the main sail.
Forestay: The wire (cable) that supports the mast from the bow and prevents the top of the mast from moving aft.
Backstay: The wire that supports the mast from the stern and prevents the top of it from moving forward.
Shrouds: The wires that support the mast from the sides and prevent it from moving athwartships. (sideways)
Turnbuckle: Device for adjusting tension on shrouds and stays.
Chainplate: Fitting that connects shrouds to hull.
Tang: Fitting that connects shrouds to mast.


Running Rigging Terms

Halyards: Lines or wire rope used to hoist the sails.
Sheets: Lines used to control the sails. Trimming is tightening the sheet to move the sail towards the centerline of the boat and easing is letting it out.
Outhaul: Line used to tighten or tension the foot (bottom edge) of the sail.
Downhaul: Line used to tighten or tension the luff (forward edge) of the sail.
Boom Vang: Line used to pull the boom down. It prevents the boom from lifting which causes the top part of the sail to twist.
Topping Lift: Holds the end of the boom up and prevents it from falling into the cockpit when the main sail is lowered.


Sail Terms

Head:Top corner. (Where halyard connects to sail)
Tack: Bottom forward corner.
Clew: Bottom back corner.
Luff: Forward edge.
Foot: Bottom edge.
Leech: Backedge.
Cringle: Metal reinforcement ring.

Battens: Wood or plastic strips that act as stiffeners for the sail. They help keep the leech from fluttering.
Batten Pockets: Pockets sewn into the trailing edge of the sail to hold the battens.
Roach: The unmeasured Sail area along the back edge of the Sail.
Cunningham: The cringle (grommet) on the luff of the sail used to achieve luff tension for draft control. (sail shaping)
Reef Points: The row of points where the reef ties are attached to the sail.