Contact phone number:+27609383468

Contact email:

Yachting Terminologies

adv_yachtingterminologies_sailingLike any other field, there are some jargon and terminologies that are used that may be unfamiliar to the lay people.

Therefore, in order to understand some of the words and also help you whilst making a booking and on your yacht charter holiday, we have a list with the definitions below:

• Adrift – Afloat and unattached in any way to the shore or seabed. It may also imply that a vessel is not anchored and not under control, therefore goes where the wind and current take her, (loose from moorings or out of place). Also refers to any gear not fastened down or put away properly. It can also be used to mean “absent without leave”. adv_yachtingterminologies_1

• Aft – Towards the stern (of the vessel)

• Ahead – Forward of the bow.

• Beam – The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point, or a point alongside the ship at the mid-point of its length.

• Berth – A bed on a boat, or a space in a port or harbour where a vessel can be tied up.

• Bimini – Weather-resistant fabric stretched over a stainless steel frame, fastened above the cockpit of a sailboat or flybridge of a power yacht which serves as a rain or sun shade.

• Blue Peter – A blue and white flag hoisted at the fore trucks of ships about to sail.

• Buoy – A floating object of defined shape and color, which is anchored at a given position and serves as an aid to navigation.

• Bow – The front of a ship.

• Cabin – an enclosed room on a deck or flat.

• Catamaran – A vessel with two hulls.

• Draft – The depth of a ship’s keel below the waterline, also known as Draught.

• Furl – To roll or wrap a sail around the mast or spar to which it is attached.

• Galley – The kitchen area or the food preparation area on a Yacht.


• Global Positioning System – (GPS) A satellite based radio navigation system providing continuous worldwide coverage. It provides navigation, position, and timing information to air, marine, and land users.

• Head – The toilet of a vessel

• Keel – The central structural basis of the hull

• Leeward – In the direction that the wind is blowing towards.

• Lifeboat – A small steel or wood boat located near the stern of a vessel. Used to get the crew to safety if something happens to the mothership.

• Marina – a docking facility for small ships and yachts.

• Pontoon – A flat-bottomed vessel used as a ferry or a barge or float moored alongside a jetty or a ship to facilitate boarding.

• Radar – Acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging. An electronic system designed to transmit radio signals and receive reflected images of those signals from a “target” in order to determine the bearing and distance to the “target”.

• Skipper – The captain of a ship.

• Spinnaker – A large sail flown in front of the vessel while heading downwind.adv_yachtingterminologies_sailing

• Starboard – Towards the right-hand side of a vessel facing forward. Denoted with a green light at night.

• Steering oar or steering board – A long, flat board or oar that went from the stern to well underwater, used to control the vessel in the absence of a rudder.

• Stem – The extension of keel at the forward of a ship.

• Stern – The rear part of a ship, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter to the taffrail.

• Topsail – The second sail (counting from the bottom) up a mast. These may be either square sails or fore-and-aft ones, in which case they often “fill in” between the mast and the gaff of the sail below.

• Wake – Turbulence behind a ship

• Windlass – A winch mechanism, usually with a horizontal axis. Used where mechanical advantage is greater than that obtainable by block and tackle was needed (such as raising the anchor on small ships). Modern sailboats use an electric “Windlass” to raise the anchor.


Join our Newsletter

Follow us on Twitter