Sailing Terms

  1. Amidships - condition of being surrounded by boats.

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

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

  4. Bare Boat - Clothing Optional.

  5. 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).

  6. Berth - a little addition to the crew.

  7. Boat ownership - Standing fully-clothed under a cold shower, tearing up 100-dollar bills.

  8. 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. For slow crew, it's called `boom, boom.'

  9. Bottom Paint - what you get when the cockpit seats are freshly painted.

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

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

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

  13. Companionway - a double berth.

  14. 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.

  15. Cruising - Fixing your boat in exotic locations.

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

  17. Current - Tidal flow that carries a boat away from its desire destination, or towards a hazard.

  18. Dead Reckoning - a course leading directly to a reef.

  19. Deadrise - getting up to check the anchor at 0300.

  20. Deviation - any departure from the Captain's orders.

  21. Dinghy - the sound of the ship's bell.

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

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

  24. First Mate - crew member necessary for skippers to practice shouting instructions to.

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

  26. 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.

  27. Foul Wind - breeze produced by flying turkey.

  28. Freeboard - food and liquor supplied by the owner.

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

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

  31. Head up - Leaving the boat toilet seat up. When boat skipper is female, leaving the head up is a serious offense.

  32. Heave-Ho - what you do when you've eaten too much Ho.

  33. Jack Lines - `Hey baby, want to go sailing?'

  34. Jibe - either you like it or you don't and it gets you.

  35. Keel - term used by 1st mate after too much heel by skipper.

  36. Ketch - A sailboat with good wine in the cabin.

  37. Landlubber - anyone on board who wishes he were not.

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

  39. Mast - religious ritual used before setting sail.

  40. Mizzen - an object you can't find.

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

  42. Noserly - What to call the wind direction when it comes from where you're going.

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

  44. Rhumb Line - two or more crew members waiting for a drink.

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

  46. Schooner - A sailboat with a fully stocked liquor cabinet in the cabin.

  47. Sheet - cool, damp, salty night covering.

  48. Shroud - equipment used in connection with a wake.

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

  50. Swell - a wave that's just great.

  51. Square Rigger - a rigger over 30.

  52. Sloop - A sailboat with beer and/or wine in the cabin.

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

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

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

[ Author Unknown -- WestPac, from 'Buffalos Chips' ( ]


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