A SAILING GLOSSARY


Terms you may hear around a dinghy sailing club.

ASSYMETRIC - Boat with medieval jousting pole designed to frighten windsurfers.
BLOCK - What you get when you forget the course mid-race.
BLUE PETER - …so would yours be after one of the winter series
BOSUN - when you have just won a bottle of wine and you drop a hint to your friends by leaving it on full view on the table in the lounge.
CAPSIZE - the number you need to remember when your fifth hat of the season sinks without trace.
CATAMARAN - seldom on the water despite dinghy park being full of them, sails like a train, moves very fast, occasionally crashes and can't be steered.
CLASS - the English have a complicated and very important class and sub class system. The 3 main classes are the Upper class (HSC member) wot own sailing boats, the middle class who don't own boats and the w***** at the bottom who own a jet ski.
COLD FRONT -The greeting you’ll get on returning home after 6pm on a Sunday.
CLEW - First hint that the crew’s forgotten the course again.
DO - (AKA) 'Officer Of The Day', everybody needs one, no one wants to be one and everybody says they could do it better!
JIB, JIB, JIB - A series of meaningless expletives uttered by the helm to his/her crew on their route to dementia, hence ‘gibberish’.
KICKER - Useful trick when crew won’t do what she’s told.
MONOHULL - type of boat that looks like a turtle when upside down.
ROLLOCKS - Expletive uttered when you’ve driven all the way to the club but forgotten that vital piece of equipment that prevents you going sailing.
SHEET - Expletive uttered when a jib knot comes undone in a crisis.
SPINNAKER - colourful material that automatically ties itself in a knot and hoists the crew up the mast by the leg. Also, useful for doing an emergency stop in a dinghy.
START SEQUENCE - a collection of loud noises and brightly coloured flags that go up and down in what appears to be a random sequence depending on the senility of the Race Officer.
TENDER - Patching up the relationship after a pretty traumatic race.
STD - Sailing Transmitted Disease. Highly contagious, symptoms include a large grin and bruises. Though not usually fatal can result in divorce and bankruptcy.
SWIMMING AREA - the part of the race course, usually near the gybe mark, where all the fleet capsize.
TRAPEZE HARNESS - a chastity belt for men.

As the cruising season is about to start I thought this might be a useful reminder for the big boat sailors.

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.
Back Stay - When your partner stays at home because she will not go sailing in October.
Bare Boat - Clothing Optional.
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).
Bilge - cheap beer (see freeboard)
Boom - sometimes the result of a surprise jibe. Boom - Called boom for the sound that's made when it hits crew in the head on its way across the boat. For slow crew, it's called `boom, boom.'
Calm - Sea condition characterised 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.
Companionway - a double berth.
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.
Cruising - Fixing your boat in exotic locations.
Crew - Heavy, stationary objects used on shipboard to hold down charts, anchor cushions in place and dampen sudden movements of the boom.
Current - Tidal flow that carries a boat away from its desired destination, or towards a hazard Dead Reckoning - a course leading directly to a reef.
Deviation - any departure from the Captain's orders.
Dinghy - the sound of the ship's bell.
Displacement - when you dock your boat and can't find it later.
Draft - The gap in your oilies between the trousers and the jacket.
Estimated Position - a place you have marked on the chart where you are sure you are not.
First Mate - crew member necessary for skippers to practice shouting instructions to.
Fix - the crew's estimate of your current position.
Emergency Flares - old pair of trousers to change into if you fall overboard.
Torch - Tubular metal container used on shipboard for storing dead batteries prior to their disposal
Fluke - The portion of an anchor that digs securely into the bottom, holding the boat in place; also, any occasion when this occurs on the first try.
Freeboard - food and liquor supplied by the owner.
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.
Head up - Leaving the boat toilet seat up. When boat skipper is female, leaving the head up is a serious offence.
Heads - the deciding factor whether to set out or not.
Heave-Ho - what you do when you've eaten too much Ho.
Jack Lines - `Hey baby, want to go sailing?'
Landlubber - anyone on board who wishes he was not.
Mate - the term used to refer to the skipper just before explaining that the hand bearing compass has fallen overboard
Mizzen - an object you can't find.
Motor Sailor - A sailboat that alternates between sail/rigging problems and engine problems, and with some booze in the cabin.
Ram - an intricate docking manoeuvre sometimes used by experienced skippers.
Rhumb Line - two or more crew members waiting for a drink.
Sailing - The fine art of getting wet and becoming ill, while going nowhere slowly at great expense.
Sheet - cool, damp, salty night covering.
Spreaders - Barclay Card and Visa - useful for extending the sailing season.
Stays - position in harbour when gales are forecast.
Tack - A manoeuvre the skipper uses when telling the crew what they did wrong without getting them mad.
Tree - object to sit under, as a cure for seasickness.
Warp - The other skipper's version of events.

The average human male reaches emotional maturity at the age of 28 On average it lasts for 40 minutes