Archive for March, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Gold Cup Course

Gold Cup course — the former name for the racecourse configuration that includes a right triangle, followed by windward and leeward legs, with the finish to leeward. This course is now referred to as a windward-leeward-triangle course.

PostHeaderIcon Checkstay

a device adjusted to prevent a mast from over-bending or pumping. It is run between each quarter and a point on the mast significantly below and astern of the forestay attachment point. A checkstay may be rigged separately or jointly with a running backstay. It is part of the running rigging. Also known as a trim stay.

PostHeaderIcon Peeling Ring

a three-segment ring with a trigger-release snap shackle permanently attached to each of two segments. Used in spinnaker peels. The working afterguy and lazy spinnaker sheet get connected to the third segment after being run through the spinnaker pole’s jaw. One snap shackle is connected to the working spinnaker’s tack. The tack of a new spinnaker can be connected to the unused snap shackle. The old chute is spiked off with a fid once the new one is hoisted and drawing. A device generally referred to as a peeling strop. Tylaska refers to these as asymmetrical tack rings.

PostHeaderIcon Boat Call

Boat call – the time when crew is to report to the boat and begin working. Compare to: dock-out and harbor start.

PostHeaderIcon Harbor Start

Harbor start — a directive in the Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions, but that is not defined by the Racing Rules of Sailing, so the definition varies from place to place and regatta to regatta. May indicate the time the Race Committee intends to leave the harbor for the race course. May also indicate that all boats must remain at their dock until the specified time. A harbor start may also indicate that a race’s start line will be located within the harbor.

PostHeaderIcon Race Committee

Race committee — the various people who organize, manage, and conduct a race or regatta. The race committee’s goal is to provide safe and fair racing to all competitors.

PostHeaderIcon Luffing

Luffing — 1) Deviating from course towards the wind above close-hauled, such as during a tack or to force an overlapped windward boat to windward. See also: feather,  forereaching and head-to-wind.2) A sail flapping in the wind. A sail luffs when it has too shallow an angle of attack; i.e., is nearly parallel to the wind flow. A properly trimmed sail will not flap or flutter. Luffing reduces boat speed because it decreases the sail’s performance. It can also damage the sail if done for an extended period. Sometimes referred to as ragging.


… the motions of our sail; the play of its pulse so like our own lives, so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labored hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective.


Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862), American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher.  A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (Self-published in 1849), page 257.

PostHeaderIcon Shut The Door

Shut the door — to tactically block a competitor at a start, mark rounding, or finish in such a way as to prevent the competitor from continuing on her intended course, while you continue on your intended course. For example, luffing a barging boat to force her to tack away.

PostHeaderIcon ATON

ATON — an acronym for “aids-to-navigation.” Any device or object located away from the boat that is intended to help determine position or safe course, or to warn of dangers or obstructions to navigation. These buoys, beacons and lights serve the same purpose as street signs and traffic lights for motor vehicle traffic.

PostHeaderIcon Prep Flag

the flag raised one minute after the class flag, to indicate four minutes to a start, then lowered one minute before the start. Often the International Code Flag “P” is used (blue background with a white square in the center). Also known as a Blue Peter. The applicable Sailing Instructions may modify the sequence timing.


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