10 Sailing Terms Everyone Can Master Posted by Hamilton Island - 4 August 2016 Every August, spectators and yachties from around the globe descend upon Hamilton Island for Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week (#AHIRW). Race Week is a fantastic opportunity for anyone new to sailing to experience the spectacle and wonderment of yachts paired with competitive racing. To help beginners sound the part, we’ve collected a short list of 10 sailing terms that anyone new to the sport can learn: Aft - The back of a ship. If something is located aft, it is at the back of the sailboat. The aft is also known as the stern. Bow - The front of the ship. Knowing the location of the bow is important for defining two of the other most common sailing terms; port and starboard. Port – When facing the front of the boat (the bow), port is always the left-hand side of the boat. Using ’right’ and ’left’ can become confusing when used out in the open waters, this is why port is used to define the left-hand side of the boat. Starboard - When facing the front of the boat (the bow), starboard is always the right-hand side of the boat. Leeward - Is the direction opposite to the way the wind is currently blowing (windward). Also known as lee. Windward – Is the direction in which the wind is currently blowing. Windward is the opposite of leeward. Sailboats tend to move with the wind, making the windward direction an important sailing term to know. Boom - The boom is the horizontal pole which extends from the bottom of the mast. When you adjust the boom towards the direction of the wind, the sailboat is able to harness wind power to move forward or backwards. Rudder - Located beneath the boat, the rudder is a flat piece of wood, fiberglass, or metal that is used to steer the boat. Larger sailboats control the rudder via a wheel, while smaller sailboats will have a steering mechanism directly aft. Tacking - This basic sailing manoeuvre refers to turning the bow of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side. This is the opposite of jibing as it is going into the wind. The boom of a boat will always shift from one side to the other when performing a tack or a jibe. Jibing - is a sailing maneuver whereby a sailing vessel reaching downwind (the wind is coming from behind the vessel) turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other. Remember these terms and you'll be sounding like a pro in no time! For more information: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au Sailing at Hamilton Island. Photo by Kara Rosenlund. About the Author Part of the Whitsundays, and in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is one of Australia’s most spectacular and sought-after holiday destinations. On a holiday to Hamilton Island, you'll be surrounded by pristine white beaches, and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life.