Archive for February, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Tacking Angle

the angle between port tack and starboard tack courses for a given boat in a given wind. There is typically an inverse relationship between wind speed and tacking angle; tacking angle decreases as wind speed increases. See also: pointing ability. Compare to: jibing angle.

PostHeaderIcon Car

an adjustable slide, fairlead, or block that runs on a track or traveler. Examples are jib lead car, traveler, and spinnaker pole car.

PostHeaderIcon Soft Shackle

a device used to attach a line to another fitting. Made from a self-tightening loop of high-strength synthetic line such as Dyneema. One brand is Softies, a trademark of Colligo Marine LLC. Liros-XTR offers another version. A soft shackle is a modern version of a traditional topsail halyard toggle. Also known as a rope shackle.

PostHeaderIcon Athwartships

across the boat; at a right angle to the boat’s centerline. In a closed cockpit, the seat that runs from side-to-side behind the helm is called a thwart.

PostHeaderIcon Becalmed

1) Unable to make forward progress due to a lack of wind. See also: drifter, parked up, windseeker and zephyr. 2) The opposite of what the crew feels when there is no wind.

PostHeaderIcon Foul Weather Gear

an exterior layer of clothing protection that is waterproof and windproof. It keeps the wearer warm and dry in stormy conditions, and lets perspiration evaporate. The best-constructed clothing repels water and provides excellent ventilation, comfort, and breathability. It is flexible enough to allow un-constricted movement and sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear of racing. Available in varying thicknesses for various temperature ranges and conditions. Also referred to as oilskins or waterproofs and by the slang term foulies. Compare to: base layer and mid layer.

PostHeaderIcon Tack

1) On a triangular sail, the bottom forward corner where the luff meets the foot. This is the corner that gets connected to a bow horn, guy, tack shackle, tack ring, or tack line. Compare to: clew and head. 2) A boat’s course as determined by which side is to windward. If the wind is coming from starboard, the boat is on starboard tack. If the wind is coming from port, the boat is on port tack. When sailing “by the lee”—sailing with the wind coming from behind, and on the same side the mainsail is on—a boat’s windward side (and, therefore, the tack she is on) is the side opposite to that on which her mainsail is carried. Unless a boat is head-to-wind, she is always on either port tack or starboard tack. 3) To change tacks by turning a boat so that her bow passes through the eye of the wind, which brings the wind that was once over one side now over the opposite side. The mainsail and headsail (if hoisted) are also brought to the opposite side. A boat is considered on the new tack once she passes head-to-wind. See also: Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 rule 13. Compare to: jibe.

PostHeaderIcon Snacktician

slang for the crew member primarily responsible for meal planning and food preparation. Oftentimes the head chef, bar tender and server, too. See also: provisioning and victualing.

PostHeaderIcon Race Officer

a person knowledgeable about race management rules and procedures. US Sailing designates three race officer levels: club, regional, and national. Each is expected to properly run races for the types of boats, competitors, racing formats, and events run at his or her level. Each is also expected to understand the Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 as they relate to administering and conducting races at his or her level. A person who can manage the “on-the-water” race and regatta operations. See also: APRO, ARO and PRO.

PostHeaderIcon Mushrooms

1) Slang for the crew members sent below to relax on the leeward cushions near the mast when the winds are really light. This offers many advantages: wind drag is reduced, the slot is not clogged, and their weight is concentrated closer to the boat’s center of gravity. Low centered weight also helps reduce pitching in leftover waves and swell. Being sent below is not always fun for the crew, but they can get out of the sun, have some food, and catch up on some reading. Also known as being bilge brothers or putting dogs in the doghouse. 2) What crew members who are not part of the afterguard consider themselves because they are kept in the dark until the last second.

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