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Marine Glossary

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.