A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

 

Backstay

Stay between the top of the mast and the stern.

Bare headed

Without a headsail hoisted. Bare headed change, changing headsails where one sail is completely lowered and removed before another is hoisted very slow

Barometer

An instrument which measures the air pressure

Batten

Thin strips of composite material inserted into a pocket in a sail to support the curved leech of the sail.

Beam

Width of the boat at the widest point. Also the side of the boat (e.g. 'wind on the beam' means the wind is coming sideways onto the boat).

Bear away

Turn downwind, to bear away from the wind.

Beat

Sail a zigzag course to make progress into the wind. It is impossible for a boat to sail directly into the wind, tacking is like climbing the stairs when you want to go to bed.

Berth (bunk)

Bed on board

Beaufort scale

Way of measuring wind strength from Force 1 to Force 12

Block

A pulley used for changing the direction of a line or in making up a simple system to multiply the force applied to a line see Tackle.

Boom

Spar (rigid pole) at the bottom edge of a sail, generally the mainsail.

Bow

Front of the boat.

Bowman

Crew member who is responsible for most things that happen forward of the mast. Rigs the gear for spinnakers and for headsail changes, is usually the one whisked up the rig if anything goes wrong. Usually seen wearing a climbing harness over all his sailing gear and carrying strapped thereto rolls of tape, spikes, knives, karabiners, snap shackles, sail ties etc.

Bowline

Useful knot, when tied forms a secure loop in a rope.

Bowsprit

A projecting spar extending from the bow of a boat, generally used in modern times to fly an asymmetric spinnaker. Volvo Open 70s have 1.82m long carbon fibre bowsprits on which to fly their A-sails.

Brace

Metal construction on teeth, also an antipodean term for the line from the windward corner of a spinnaker used to control the position of the spinnaker pole.

Broach

Uncontrolled, sudden alteration of course usually when sailing fast downwind.

Broach Reach

When the Wind is between 90 and 150 degrees off the bow.

Bulb

A torpedo shaped construction fastened at the bottom of the keel foil.

Buoy

Floating object anchored to the bottom of the sea - some are for navigation, some are for mooring to, others are set temporarily to mark out a race course.

Buoyancy aid

Helps you to stay afloat if you fall in the water.