Dinghy Sailing Terminology

What we should teach our students...

  • Aft: the back of the boat (also known as the stern).
  • Bow: the front of the boat.
  • Port: the left-hand side of the boat when you are facing the front (bow).
  • Starboard: the right-hand side of the boat when you are facing the front (bow).
  • Leeward: the downwind side of the boat.
  • Windward: the side of the boat the wind blows onto.
  • Boom: the boom is the horizontal pole that extends from the bottom of the mast. Adjusting the angle of the boom to the wind is how the dinghy harnesses the wind power.
  • Rudder: connected to the tiller (steering stick) sits at the back of the boat
  • Tacking: turning the bow of the boat through the wind, so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side. The boom will always shift from one side to the other when performing a tack
  • Gybing: the opposite of tacking and is turning the stern of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side and is simply a downwind turn.
  • Capsize: when the boat falls onto its side or inverts
  • Main Sail: the big sail connected to the boom 
  • Jib: the smaller sail attached to the bow (front).
  • Sheets: ropes that pull sails in and lets them out
  • Halyards: ropes that pull sails up masts
  • Lee ho: the command given by the helm (driver) before he/she tacks