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Unofficial List of Yacht Terms

Discussion in 'Yacht Links & Lists' started by YachtForums, May 28, 2008.

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  1. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Nautical Terms


    Ahoy - the first in a series of four letter words commonly exchanged by skippers as their boats approach one another

    Bar - low lying navigational hazard, usually awash, found at river mouths and harbor entrances, where it is composed of sand or mud, and ashore, where it is made of mahogany or some other dark wood. Sailors can be found in large numbers around both.

    Boom - a laterally mounted spar to which a sail is fastened, used during jibing to shift crewmembers to a fixed, horizontal position.

    Bulkhead- discomfort suffered by sailors who drink too much

    Cabin - a cramped, closet like compartment below decks where crew members may be stored – on their sides if large or on end if small – until needed.

    Calm - sea condition characterised by the simultaneous disappearance of the wind and the last cold beer

    Channel - narrow stretch of deep or dredged waterway bordered by buoys or markers that separates two or more grounded boats

    Current - tidal flow that carries a boat away from it desired destination or toward a hazard.

    Fitting Out - series of maintenance tasks performed on boats ashore during good weather weekends in spring and summer months to make them ready for winter storage.

    Flipper - rubber swimming aid worn on the feet. Usually available in two sizes, 3 and 17

    Flotsam - anything floating in the water from which there is no response when an offer of a cocktail is made.

    Fluke - the portion of an anchor that digs securely into the bottom: also, any occasion when this happens on the first try.

    Galley - Ancient: aspect of seafaring associated with slavery. Modern: Aspect of seafaring associated with slavery

    Gear - Generic term for any pieces of boating equipment that can be forgotten in the back-seat or boot of a car, left behind on a pontoon, soaked in the bottom of a dinghy or lost over the side of the boat.

    Gimbals - movable mountings often found on shipboards lamps, compasses etc which provide dieting passengers an opportunity to observe the true motions of the ship in relation to them, and thus prevent any recently ingested food from remaining in their digestive systems long enough to be converted into unwanted calories.

    Grounding - embarrassing situation in which a sailor returns to shore without leaving his boat.

    Hatch - an opening in a deck leading to the cabin below with a cover designed to let water in while keeping fresh air out.

    Hawser - rope or cable that exists for the specific purpose of becoming entangled in a propeller.

    Hull Speed - the maximum theoretical velocity of a given boat through the water, which is 1.5 times the square root of its waterline length in feet, divided by the distance to port in miles, minus the time in hours to sunset cubed.

    Jibe - course change which causes the boom to sweep rapidly across the cockpit; also, frequent type of comment made by observers of this maneuver.

    Lanyard - a light line attached to a small article so that it can be secured somewhere well out of reach.

    Leeward - the direction in which objects, liquids and other matter may be thrown without risk of re encountering them in the immediate future.

    Life Jacket - any personal floatation device that will keep an individual who has fallen off a vessel, above water long enough to be run over by it or another rescue craft.

    Mizzen - the shorter aft mast on a yawl or ketch. Any mast that is no longer there.

    Moon - earth’s natural satellite. During periods when it displays a vivid blue color, sailing conditions are generally favorable.

    Motor Sailer - a hybrid boat that combines the simplicity and reliability of sail power with the calm and serenity of a throbbing engine.

    Ocean Racing - demanding form of sailing practiced by sportsman whose idea of a good time is standing under an ice cold shower, fully clothed while re examining there last meal.

    Passage - basically a voyage from point A to point B, interrupted by unexpected landfalls or stopovers at point K, point Q, and point Z.

    Pontoon - harbor landing place that goes crack, crunch when hit

    Pilotage - the art of getting lost in sight of land, as opposed to the distinct and far more complex science of navigation used to get lost in offshore waters.

    Port - 1. Left on a boat. 2. A place you wish you never left on a boat.

    Propeller - underwater winch designed to wind up at high speeds any lines left hanging over the stern.

    Radar - extremely realistic kind of electronic game often found on larger sailboats. Players try to avoid colliding with “blips” which represent other sailboats, large container ships and oil tankers.

    Regatta - organized sailing competition that pits yours against your opponents’ luck.

    Sailing - the find art of getting wet and becoming ill while slowly going nowhere at great expense.

    Satellite Navigation - sophisticated electronic location method that enables sailors to instantly determine the exact latitude and longitude, within just a few feet, anywhere on the surface of the surface of the earth, of whatever it was they just ran aground on.

    Single Handed Sailing - the only situation in which the skipper does not immediately blame the crew for every single thing that goes wrong

    Spinnaker - large beautiful balloon shaped sail used in powerful downwind sailing, collapses at the sides to make control difficult and when lowered stores neatly into the galley and main cabin and heads all at the same time.

    Tides - the rise and fall of ocean waters. There are two tides of interest to mariners: the ebb tide sailors encounter as they attempt to enter port and the flood tide they experience as they try to leave.

    Yardarm - horizontal spar mounted in such a way that when viewed from the cockpit, the sun is always over it.
  2. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Sailing Terms


    Amidships - condition of being surrounded by boats.

    Anchor - a device designed to bring up mud samples from the bottom at inopportune or unexpected times.

    Anchor Light - a small light used to discharge the battery before daylight.

    Beam Sea - a situation in which waves strike a boat from the side, causing it to roll unpleasantly. This is one of the four directions from which wave action tends to produce extreme physical discomfort. The other three are 'bow sea' (waves striking from the front), 'following sea' (waves striking from the rear), and 'quarter sea' (waves striking from any other direction).

    Berth - a little addition to the crew.

    Boat Ownership - standing fully-clothed under a cold shower, tearing up 100-dollar bills

    Boom - sometimes the result of a surprise jibe. Called boom for the sound that's made when it hits crew in the head on its way across the boat.

    Calm - sea condition characterized by the simultaneous disappearance of the wind and the last cold beverage.

    Chart - a type of map which tells you exactly where you are aground.

    Clew - an indication from the skipper as to what he might do next.

    Course - The direction in which a skipper wishes to steer his boat and from which the wind is blowing. Also, the language that results by not being able to.

    Crew - heavy, stationary objects used on shipboard to hold down charts, anchor cushions in place and dampen sudden movements of the boom.

    Dead Reckoning - a course leading directly to a reef.

    Dinghy - the sound of the ship's bell.

    Displacement - when you dock your boat and can't find it later.

    Estimated Position - a place you have marked on the chart where you are sure you are not.

    Flashlight - tubular metal container used on shipboard for storing dead batteries prior to their disposal.

    Gybe - a common way to get unruly guests off your boat.

    Headway - what you are making if you can't get the toilet to work.

    Jack Lines - "Hey baby, want to go sailing?"

    Landlubber - anyone on board who wishes he were not.

    Latitude - the number of degrees off course allowed a guest.

    Mast - religious ritual used before setting sail.

    Mizzen - an object you can't find.

    Motor Sailer - a sailboat that alternates between sail/ rigging problems and engine problems, and with some booze in the cabin.

    Ram - an intricate docking maneuver sometimes used by experienced skippers.

    Sailing - the fine art of getting wet and becoming ill, while going nowhere slowly at great expense.

    Shroud - equipment used in connection with a wake.

    Starboard - special board used by skippers for navigation (usually with "Port" on the opposite side.)

    Tack - A maneuver the skipper uses when telling the crew what they did wrong without getting them mad.

    Yawl - a sailboat from Texas, with some good bourbon stored down yonder in the cabin.

    Zephyr - warm, pleasant breeze. Named after the mythical Greek god of wishful thinking, false hopes, and unreliable forecasts.
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    SportFish Terms


    Catch and Release - a conservation motion that happens most often right before the local Fish and Game officer pulls over a boat that has caught over it's limit.

    Hook - (1) A curved piece of metal used to catch fish. (2) A clever advertisement to entice a fisherman to spend his live savings on a new rod and reel. (3) The punch administered by said fisherman's wife after he spends their life savings (see also, Right Hook, Left Hook).

    Line - something you give your co-workers when they ask on Monday how your fishing went the past weekend.

    Lure - an object that is semi-enticing to fish, but will drive an angler into such a frenzy that he will charge his credit card to the limit before exiting the tackle shop.

    Reel - a weighted object that causes a rod to sink quickly when dropped overboard.

    Rod - an attractively painted length of fiberglass that keeps an angler from ever getting too close to a fish.

    School - a grouping in which fish are taught to avoid your $29.99 lures and hold out for spam instead.

    Tackle - what your last catch did to you as you reeled him in, but just before he wrestled free and jumped back overboard.

    Tackle Box - a box shaped alarmingly like your comprehensive first aid kit. Only a tackle box contains many sharp objects, so that when you reach in the wrong box blindly to get a Band Aid, you soon find that you need more than one.

    Test - (1) The amount of strength a fishing line affords an angler when fighting fish in a specific weight range. (2) A measure of your creativity in blaming "that darn line" for once again losing the fish.
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