Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Nautical Terminology

Abaft - behind the middle of the boat.
Active sheet - headsail sheet that is taking the strain.
Aft - at or towards the back of the boat.
Abeam - off the side(at right angle) to the boat.
Batten - a thin slat that slides into a pocket on the mainsail, helping it to hold shape.
Bear away - to turn away from the wind.
Beating - a course sailed upwind.
Bight - a loop of line.
Bitter end - the end of the line.
Block - a pulley on a boat.
By the lee - sailing downwind with the wind the same side as the boom.
Cleat off - secure a line to a cleat in correct manner.
Close reach - sailing with wind forward of beam. 70 degrees from bow.
Course - direction the boat is steered according to the compass.
Current - horizontal movement caused by wind and/or tide.
Dead downwind - sailing with the wind right behind.
Depower - remove power from sails by luffing or making them flatter. Done to reduce heeling.
Draft - depth keel from water surface.
Ease - to let out a line in a controlled manner.
Ebb - out going current.
Fall off - to turn away from the wind.
Fend off - push off.
Flake - to lay out a line using large loops to keep it form getting tangled.
Flood - incoming current.
Give-way vessel - vessel required to give way when on collision course.
Gybe ho - command given before gibing.
Hard over - helm turned as far as possible in one direction.
Head up - to turn towards the wind.
Heading - the boats direction according to the compass.
Helms a lee - command given when helm is turned during a tack.
Hockle - kink in a line.
Hoist - to pull a line to lift an object.
Kicker - block and tackle system to hold boom down - vang.
Lazarette - aft deck locker.
Lazy sheet - the headsail sheet that is not under load - windward side
Lee helm - boats tendency to turn away from wind.
Leech line - cord that prevents flutter on sail edge.
Leech - the after edge of a sail.
Leeward - the side or direction away from the wind.
Let go - totally release a line.
Luffing - the fluttering of a sail.
Make fast - cleat or tie off a line.
Mast pulpits - stainless steel guard rail at the mast.
Painter - line attached to the bow of the dinghy.
Pulpit - stainless steel guard rail at the bow Ready about - command given prior to tacking.
Rode - line or chain attached from the boat to the anchor.
Secure a line - cleat or tie off a line.
Slot - gap between mainsail and headsail.
Snubber - line secured to chain to take shock.
Stand-on vessel - vessel with right of way.
Tacking - command given while tacking.
Tail - the end section of a line.
To tail - to control a line from a winch or cleat.
Telltails - yarn on a sail to indicate sail trim.
Tender - dinghy.
Traveler - track and car that controls the sideways movement of the boom.
Upwind - towards the wind.
Vang - block and tackle system to hold boom down - kicker.
VMG - velocity made good.
Weather helm - boats tendency to turn towards wind. Occurs when overpowered.
Windward - towards the wind.
Working sheet - headsail sheet being used to trim the sails.


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