Archive for November, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Float Drop

a spinnaker douse where the sail is brought down on a boat’s leeward side. The foredeck gets control of the spinnaker—either by the foot or the lazy guy— and the halyard is blown. The sail’s upper half floats out over the water and the foot or lazy guy is used to pull the spinnaker under the jib and onto the deck or down the forward hatch. A stretch & blow douse is a heavy air float drop, where the sheet is trimmed on hard to enable the foredeck to get the spinnaker under control and to keep the clews out of the water. Also called a float douse or float takedown.

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PostHeaderIcon Gybulator

a short tongue at an asymmetrical spinnaker’s tack whose purpose is to keep the lazy sheet from dropping down over the bow, sprit, or pole when the spinnaker is configured for outside jibing. Also called a lazy sheet keeper, luff dick or tack dick.

PostHeaderIcon STIX

an acronym for “STability IndeX.” A number that represents the seaworthiness of a particular boat, including her ability to remain upright or to return to her normal upright position after being knocked down. A higher value suggests greater seaworthiness. Each boat’s STIX or IRC STIX is calculated in accordance with ISO 12217 Part 2 by the combination of factors related to dynamic stability, inversion recovery, knockdown recovery, displacement-length, beam-displacement, wind moment and downflooding. A boat’s STIX is listed on her IRC certificate. Some races require that a boat meet a minimum qualifying STIX value to enter, based on one of four design categories: ocean, offshore, coastal and local. These categories parallel the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations Categories. See also: angle of vanishing stability, BLRI and inclining.

PostHeaderIcon Balaclava

a form of headgear that covers the whole head, exposing only the face or upper part of it, and sometimes only the eyes. The name “balaclava” comes from the town of Balaklava, near Sevastopol in Crimea, Ukraine. During the Crimean War, knitted balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold weather. They are traditionally knitted from wool, and can be rolled up into a hat to cover just the crown of the head.

PostHeaderIcon Weed Stick

a long, flexible rod that has a plastic hook on one end and that is used to clean weeds, lobster pots, or other flotsam from a keel or rudder’s leading edge. Optionally, the rod is wrapped with cloth to prevent it from scratching the hull. A crew member secured to the boat pushes the hooked end into the water forward of where he or she thinks the weed or other item is lodged, directs the rod towards the boat’s centerline, sweeps the rod aft to dislodge the trash, and then directs the rod back to the surface. To reduce drag, the sweeping is coordinated with the water that flows along the hull. An alternative design adds a short length of knotted line to the stick’s working end. Also known as a kelp stick. See also: flossing.

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PostHeaderIcon Clearance Mark

a small inflatable buoy whose purpose is to keep competitors away from the RC boat. It is set off a race committee boat’s quarter, on the same side as the start or finish line, and is considered an extension of the boat. All boats must pass between the clearance mark and the line’s pin end, and must avoid touching the mark. Also known as a crowding mark, guard mark, keep-away buoy, keep off buoy, limiting buoy and stand-off mark. See also: Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 rule 31. Compare to: inner distance mark.

PostHeaderIcon Roaring Forties

the area in the Southern Ocean between 40° and 50° latitude, noted for strong winds and large seas. Unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, there are few land masses in this southern latitude belt to slow the wind. See also: furious fifties and screaming sixties.


PostHeaderIcon Afterguy Trimmer

a crew member whose core responsibilities are to control the afterguy and to keep the spinnaker pole in a position that optimizes the spinnaker’s shape and performance.

PostHeaderIcon CBYRA

Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association. For more information, browse to

PostHeaderIcon Three-minute Justice

an abbreviated form of protest hearing. Disinterested third parties or Race Committee members serve as jurors on the protest committee. Each party to the protest is then allowed one minute to make his or her case without calling witnesses and the two sides are excused. The jurors then have one minute to make a decision, which is final. If the jurors are unable to reach a unanimous decision, the protest is disallowed. Hearings can be held anywhere it is convenient, such as on-the-water between races, on the dock or in the bar at the end of the day.


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