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Basic Principles

The Boat

The ‘hull’ allows the boat to float. Because of its long, narrow and symmetrical shape, it moves most easily in a forward direction. The ‘centre board’ is a sort of verticalwing in the middle of the hull which improves this tendency towards forward motion and reduces sideways movement to a minimum.


The ‘rigging’ comprises the support and control cables, wires and ropes – all the cordage that is needed to keep up the mast and regulate the sails.
The vertical ‘mast’ supports a horizontal ‘boom’ which can swivel from one side of the boat to the other. The ‘main sail’ is held between these two. In order to control the direction of the main sail, a rope called the main sheet is attached to the end of the boom. Note: a sheet is always a rope, never a sail.

The ‘jib’- a triangular sail - is stretched along a wire running from the top of the mast to the front of the boat. Jib sheets at the free angle of the triangle control this sail.

The ‘helm’ or the ‘tiller’ is the device which makes it possible to steer the boat. It is attached to a streamlined vertical board plunged in the water, called a ‘rudder’ which swivels on a vertical axis. By pushing the tiller to the left, the boat will steer to the right and vice versa. The rudder loses its effect at angles greater than about 45°.

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