Anatomy of a Sailboat – Part 1 – On Deck

, Anatomy of a Sailboat – Part 1 – On Deck

When I’m teaching sailing, I like to get right to the boat. I’m not a big fan of classroom instruction, though I’ve seen instructors do a great job at going over points of sail, right-of-way, navigational markers, however, I still prefer to get right down to the boat and point out the actual items.

, Anatomy of a Sailboat – Part 1 – On Deck

Also, I like to get people situated on the boat; have them start getting acclimated to the amount the boat “tips” when you step aboard, and this also gives everyone a chance to remember what they forgot in their car – sunscreen, sunglasses pencil…

My preference is to start a class from bow to stern on deck, then bow to stern aloft, then bow to stern below. For this series, Part 1 is On Deck, Part 2 is Aloft, and Part 3 is Below.

, Anatomy of a Sailboat – Part 1 – On Deck

On Deck

Bow – imagine how Japanese people put their hands together, making a point, and bow – that’s how you remember bow.

Stern – the captain stands in the stern, arms crossed, looking very… stern!

Beam – widest part of the boat, perpendicular to the bow/stern line.

Port side – left side facing forward – pretend the driver in a car (in the US) is always taking you to your home port. That’s the port side of your car. Driver’s side; the driver’s job is to get you back to port. Port wine is red – the running light on the port side is red. Port and left have four letters each.

Starboard side – right side facing forward. Green running light. Right and starboard have more letters each, so pair them.

, Anatomy of a Sailboat – Part 1 – On Deck

Transom – the flat part of the boat in the stern, to which you might affix an outboard.

Centerboard – the board that hangs down in the center of the boat. Gives stability.

Keel – part that hangs below the waterline, full of lead for stability.

Rudder – like the tail on a cheetah – steers the boat. However, it cannot steer the boat if it is 90° from the bow, presenting a flat “door” to the oncoming water.

Tiller – controls the rudder. Don’t think too much about it; it will come naturally soon.

Hull – the “bowl” of the boat.

, Anatomy of a Sailboat – Part 1 – On Deck

Deck – the topsides where you walk.

Pulpit – Bow or Stern – metal railings.

Stanchions – the metal “sticks” through which the lifelines are threaded.

Cockpit – the part near the stern where you sit, steer, control the sails.

Lifelines – the lines threaded through the stanchions that assist in keeping you on board.

Ahead, Abeam, Astern – in that direction.

, Anatomy of a Sailboat – Part 1 – On Deck

I like to start bow to stern on deck, then bow to stern aloft, then bow to stern below. For this series, Part 1 is On Deck, Part 2 is Aloft, and Part 3 is Below.

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