Archive for August, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Frankenchute

slang for a spinnaker that has undergone many repairs.

PostHeaderIcon Pressure Lift

a sudden increase in wind speed (i.e., a puff) that temporarily shifts the apparent wind away from the bow. It is the change in vector between boat speed and true wind speed, not a change in true wind direction that moves the apparent wind aft. As boat speed builds, apparent wind moves forward again. Also known as a velocity lift. Compare to: pressure knock.

PostHeaderIcon Tactician

the crew person whose core responsibilities include positioning the boat on the course where she will gain the most benefit from the effects of wind, tide, sea conditions, and competitors’ positions. The tactician is the boat’s eyes and ears. Part of the afterguard and referred to by various other terms of endearment, such as brain trust, quacktician and stern ballast.

PostHeaderIcon Fend Off

to use a fender or a board (or, dangerously, a body part) to push away from or as a cushion between a boat and an object (such as a deck, a pier or another boat) with which the boat is about to collide.

PostHeaderIcon Cross

1) To pass ahead of a competitor on the opposite tack or jibe. Compare to: duck. 2) An indication or verbal confirmation from a boat on starboard tack to a competitor on port tack that they should cross in front instead of ducking behind. Also known as waving. British and Commonwealth sailors would say to “carry on.” See also: tack or cross.

PostHeaderIcon Following Seas

sea swell that comes from astern and that does not overtake a boat. It is very difficult to control any boat when swell overtakes her and shoves her forward, causing the boat to skew broadside on to the wind (yaw) and swell. Compare to: breaking wave and pooped.

PostHeaderIcon Pressure Knock

a sudden drop in wind speed (i.e., a lull) that temporarily shifts the apparent wind more towards the bow. It is the change in vector between boat speed and true wind speed, not a change in true wind direction that moves the apparent wind forward. As boat speed bleeds off, apparent wind moves aft again. A fast bear away also creates a pressure knock. Also known as a velocity header. Compare to: pressure lift.

PostHeaderIcon Microburst

a strong downdraft that induces an outburst of damaging winds on or near the Earth’s surface. The outflow at the surface is normally less than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) in diameter, with peak winds that last only two to five minutes. See also: downburst.

PostHeaderIcon Luff

1) A sail’s forward edge or leading edge. On a jib or genoa, the luff is attached to a headstay or forestay. On a mainsail, the luff is attached to a mast. See also: loose-luffed. 2) A maneuver used just prior to a start to slow a boat and maintain position. Or, more generally, a term used to describe a substantial course change to windward toward a windward opponent to force her towards head-to-wind. See also: luffing rights.

PostHeaderIcon Water Ballast

Strategically placed, rigid, internal tanks are filled with sea water or drained as needed to help control a boat’s heeling angle or to adjust fore and aft trim. For example, the windward tank is filled to reduce heel when sailing upwind, and is emptied to reduce weight when sailing downwind. A centerline-mounted tank is filled or emptied to adjust fore-aft trim. See also: canting keel and stack.


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