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Here are some basic sailing terms and techniques:

  1. Aft: the front third of the vessel, towards the front of the vessel
  2. Back Stay: Steel cable running from the stern (back) of the boat to the top end of the mast to hold and support the mast in place
  3. Boom: The horizontal spar that extends aft from the mast and supports the foot of the mainsail.
  4. Bow: The front of the vessel
  5. Cockpit:  Outside deck, usually in the back, for seating
  6. Fore stay: Steel cable running from the bow (front) of the boat to the top end of the mast to hold and support the mast in place
  7. Heeling: The tilt of the boat caused by wind pressure on the sails.
  8.  Halyard: The line used to raise and lower the sails.
  9. Helm: Steering / steering area
  10. Head: toilet / bathroom
  11. Jib: A triangular sail attached to the forestay.
  12. Jibing: Turning the stern of the boat through the wind so that the sails fill on the opposite side.
  13. Keel: Fin-like bottom structure of the bottom used to stabilize the boat
  14. Leeward: The direction away from which the wind is blowing, direction the wind is blowing to
  15. Line: on a vessel, ropes are called lines
  16. Mainsail: The primary sail that is attached to the mast and boom.
  17. Point of Sail: direction sailing towards / pointing to
  18. Pointing: The ability of a boat to sail as close to the wind as possible.
  19. Port: Facing forward, this is anything to the left of the boat. Unless your facing backward, then it would be on your right hand side. When your upside down in the rigging, or down in the bilge it’s still that same side.
  20. Pulley:
  21. Reaching: Sailing with the wind coming from the side of the boat.
  22. Rigging: Mast, sails, line, cables securing attachments to the vessel
  23. Rope: A rope that is not attached and not ‘working’ (as opposed to a line)
  24. Rudder: The steering device at the stern of the boat.
  25. Running: Sailing with the wind coming from behind the boat.
  26. Running rigging: Cable, lines, sail and sail equipment used to propel the vessel that are removable and not permanent
  27. Rudder: The steering device at the stern of the boat.
  28. Sail trim: The adjustment of the sails to achieve the best speed and pointing ability.
  29. Saloon: Inside general open lounge area
  30. Shackle: stainless steel clip attached to sails and lines
  31. Sheet: The line used to control the angle of the sails.
  32. Spreader(s): Steel brackets that hold the side rigging that supports the mast out of the way of the sails and vice versa
  33. Standing rigging: Permanent structures used to accommodate the sails, above the deck of the boat, including masts, fore and back stays, spreader that hold the mast in place
  34. Starboard: When facing forward, the right hand side of the boat
  35. Stern: The rear third of the vessel
  36. Tack: Indicates a direction of sail
  37. Tacking: Turning the bow of the boat through the wind so that the sails fill on the opposite side.
  38. Winch: Round cylinder attached to the deck used to control the lines
  39. Windward: The direction from which the wind is blowing, coming from, upwind

To sail effectively, it’s essential to understand these terms and techniques and practice them regularly.