Sailing Terms: Who Said that "Sandpiper Sailors don't have any Fun"!

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.
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).
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.
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.’
Bottom Paint What you get when the cockpit seats are freshly painted.
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.
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 desire destination, or towards a hazard
Dead Reckoning  A course leading directly to a reef.
Deadrise Getting up to check the anchor at 0300.
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.
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.
Flashlight 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.
Foul Wind Breeze produced by flying turkey.
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 offense
Heave-Ho  What you do when you’ve eaten too much Ho.
Jack Lines ‘Hey baby, want to go sailing?’
Jibe Either you like it or you don’t and it gets you.
Keel  Term used by 1st mate after too much heel by skipper.
Ketch A sailboat with good wine in the cabin
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
Noserly What to call the wind direction when it comes from where you’re going
Ram An intricate docking maneuver 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, white going nowhere slowly at great expense.
Schooner A sailboat with a fully stocked liquor cabinet in the cabin.
Sheet  Cool, damp, salty night covering.
Shroud Equipment used in connection with a wake.
Starboard Special board used by skippers for navigation (usually with “Port” on the opposite side.)
Swell A wave that’s just great.
Square Rigger A rigger over 30.
Sloop A sailboat with beer and/or wine in the cabin.
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.

Website created on May 1/2007, Last updated on March 03, 2008. all rights reserved ©