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Marine Glossary Terms

Learn marine and sailing terms quickly by searching through the information available below.

Chine : The part of the boat below the waterline

Cleat : A metal or plastic device used to secure a line

Clew : Bottom back corner of the sail

Close hauled : A boat is sailing close hauled when its sails are trimmed in tightly and it is sailing as close to the wind as it can without entering in irons. This point of sail lets the boat travel diagonally upwind. This is a precise point of sail. However, the exact angle relative to the wind direction varies from boat to boat. A boat is considered to be "pinching" if the helmsman tries to sail above an efficient close-hauled course and the sails begin to luff slightly.

A square rigged ship cannot operate well in the close reach position, as the maximum deflection offered by the braces is typically 45 degrees off the running position. When heading up beyond a beam reach, many square-riggers must rely on their staysails and spanker.

Close reach : This is any upwind angle between Close Hauled and a Beam Reach. "Fetch" (or "fetching") is a synonym in many English-speaking countries for a close reach.

Coming-About (Tacking) : In this maneuver, the bow of the boat goes through the wind as one changes from a close-hauled point-of-sail on one tack (direction) to a close hauled point-of-sail on the other direction. Only the jib needs to be adjusted, the working sheet of the jib is changed and the new working sheet is placed on a winch. The mainsail is left alone and will by itself often assume the correct position.