• Stephanie Birchenough

Boat Terms

The other day we had an All Day Around Cape Ann Charter and the young ladies on board wanted to know what all the parts of the sailboat were. They also realized that there are terms that they had never heard of on a boat. I thought why not share that information with all you out there too, so the next time you are on a boat you can not only impress the Captain but you will know what the Captain and crew are talking about.


On thing to remember is everything about a boat has a different name. To begin with the right side is called Starboard, the left side is called Port, the front is called the Bow and the back is called the Stern or Aft. There are many "ropes" but they are referred to a lines on a boat, are used for many things from docking to anchoring, and on a sailboat they are used to hoist & furl sails. But even lines have names also, they are called halyards, if they are going vertical and called sheets if they are going horizontally. All these lines get locked into place with a cleat.


Everyone's favorite place to be on the sailboat is in the cockpit, much like plane's cockpit it is where you will find the Captain. The Captain can usually be found at the helm, where you will find a wheel, or a tiller, and all kinds of displays. These displays give the Captain all the information he/she needs to sail the boat, from depth of the water, wind speed and direction, and a chart plotter (the boat name for a GPS).


This is just the beginning. Sailboats also have masts, shrouds, and spreaders. Sailboats have so many other parts, such as a winch or in our case a self tailing winches and winch handles, a keel and a rudder. All these parts pay a role in sailing, before we even start to talk about the sails. In our case we have a Main sail, that can be found on the mast, and a Head/Jib sail that can be found on the furler from the bow of the boat to the masthead.


I found this great diagram that shows where a few of these parts can be found on the sailboat.

We hope to see you out there on one of our charters, with full knowledge of all these parts.

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