Parts of a sail boat

Lesson 1.1 - How to sail

Parts of a Sailboat

Next lesson -> Parts of a sailboat rig Index: How to sail

Lesson 1.1 - How to sail

Parts of a Sailboat

Next lesson -> Parts of a sailboat rig Index: How to sail

The first step in learning how to sail is to learn the parts of a sailboat and what these boat parts are for. Modern Sailboats differ somewhat in the mechanisms and gadgets, but the basic parts and concepts are the same, from the smallest of sailboat to the largest of sailing boats. Learning the names of the parts of a boat or nomenclature aids with communications and your general understanding of how a boat works. Sailing certifications courses like RYA, ASA and US Sailing basic keelboat, require this basic understanding, so in this article we’ll look at the names and a brief description of what these parts are for.

  • Port - The left side of the boat if you are facing forward. Easy way to remember this is port has four letters and so does left.
  • Starboard - The right side of the boat facing forward.
  • Deck - flat surface of the boat (floor). Larger boats and ships can have many decks (floors) for example upper deck and lower deck.
  • Cockpit - Where you control and steer the sailboat, some larger boats have a pilot house which is an enclosed cockpit. This is where you control the boat from and spend most of you sailing time.
  • Cabin trunk - This is the housing around the cabin. Located ahead of the cockpit.
  • Companion way - The area leading from the cockpit to down below. This is a doorway or an entrance from the cockpit.
  • Rudder - A underwater fin appendage that is used to steer the boat with a tiller or mechanical steering system. This is a foil and provides, along with the keel, resistance against lateral movement.That is, when the wind is pushing the boat sideways, the rudder and keel counteract this and allow for more forward movement as opposed to slippage to the side.
  • Bow and stern pulpit - these are railings for safety, to help prevent people going overboard and can also be used to mount or hang miscellaneous items, like floatation devices, lines etc. The boats lifelines are usually attached here and sometimes navigation lights are mounted here.
  • Bow - The front part of a boat. On a catamaran there are two hulls and the bow is the front of both hulls for a trimaran there are three.
  • Stern - Back part of a boat. This is usually where motors are attached to push the boat when not sailing.
  • Lifelines - These are typically plastic coated metal/wire lines or rope lines set to help prevent a man over board situation, see man overboard drill or man overboard procedure.
  • Keel - this is an underwater appendage that has a number of functions; acts as a underwater wing preventing the boat from being pushed sideways allowing for better forward movement. The keel on a mono-hull sailboat is usually weighted with lead to act as a counterweight holding the boat upright when the wind is trying to push it over.

 

Next lesson -> Parts of a sailboat rig Index: How to sail