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

 

Latitude

Imaginary lines running parallel round the globe east-west. They help you to measure position and distance on a chart when used in conjunction with lines of longitude

Leech

Back edge of the sail.

Leeward

Opposite side to where the wind is blowing.

Leeway

The amount of sideways drift caused by the wind.

Leverage

It means much the same as it does in financial markets. It's a measure of risk. And risk in sailing terms is measured by the distance between you and your competitors across the race course, perpendicular (at right angles) to where you're going.

The greater the leverage, then the greater the risk of gain or loss as the wind shifts or the strength of it increases unevenly. That old basketball cliché - stay between the man and the hoop - applies equally to sailing. It's hard to get past someone who's directly in front of you although not impossible - but in general, staying on the direct course to the mark, with your competitors directly behind you, is about as safe a tactical situation as you can come up with in sailing.

Lie to

A way of stopping the boat temporarily by easing sheets on a close reach.

Lifejacket

Will keep a person fully afloat with their head clear of the water even if unconscious, unlike a buoyancy aid. Usually an inflatable device, sometimes with automatic gas inflation.

Lift

Spinnaker pole lift. Takes the weight of the spinnaker pole and helps locate the end of the pole in space. Controlled by the pitman in conjunction with the foreguy.

Longitude

Imaginary lines running round the globe north to south which divide the world like segments of an orange. Used with lines of latitude to measure position and distance.

Luff

Front edge of a sail. To luff, a racing tactic, to turn the boat towards the wind to prevent a boat passing to windward