A simple way to join two ropes made up of two Half Knots.
Take two ropes and cross them (red over blue) to form a half knot. Cross them a second time (red over blue again) and pull the ends tight to form the Square Knot.
Temporary hold, e.g., stage scenery or mooring buoy
Pass the end of the rope around the pole. Continue over the standing end and around the pole a second time. Thread the end under itself and pull tight to form the clove hitch.
Used to secure an animal or an item to a ring, bar, or pole.
Pass the rope around the pole, around itself, and then between the ropes to make a Half Hitch. Go around the rope again to make the second Half Hitch.
Reasonably secure loop in a rope's end - and easy to undo.
Form a small loop leaving enough rope for the desired loop size. Pass the end of the rope through the loop as though making an overhand knot. Continue around the standing end and then back through the small loop.
Attaches rope to a cleat - used for halyards, docks, clotheslines, etc.
Pass the rope around the bottom horn and on around over the top. Continue down across the middle and then up across again. Twist a loop in the rope and hook it on the cleat as a Half Hitch.
Occasionally you may need to heave (toss) and payout coiled line to a dockhand, a towboat, or an overboard victim. It is a good idea to practice coiling and to heave a line onshore. Proper coiling helps ensure that the line will pay out smoothly without tangling and falling short of the mark.
Three-strand anchor line and double braid running rigging need to be coiled in different ways. Watch our video to see a simple trick to make your line run smoothly and avoid tangles.
Three-strand should be coiled clockwise (with the lay of the line) in a circle, or loops, of equal size.
Double-braid should be coiled in a figure-8 shape, induce a little twist, in loops of equal size.
To heave a coiled line, split the coil in half. Hold half in each hand. With the heaving arm straight down by your side, swing it slowly forward and backward without bending your elbow. The coil should remain in a straight-line extension of your arm. Swing the line backward, then forward to gain momentum, and release the coil when your hand is about shoulder height. The goal is to have the line extend fully in an arc and arrive untangled at its target. Let the line payout of your opposite hand. The end of the line needs to be secured, either to the boat, the dock or with a loose loop around your wrist.
Faking is a form of coiling where the line is laid down on a deck or cockpit, and the coils are placed one on top of the other in a figure-eight pattern. Faking down a line, rather than simply coiling it, is usually done when a long line needs to be paid out quickly and without tangling, such as when anchoring in unusually deep water.
|Faking: Laying out a line on deck or a dock in a figure-eight fashion so the line will run free without tangles when pulled. Flaking: Laying out line on deck or on a dock in parallel rows, not the same as faking. Left-laid rope: Rope made with the material running to the left.|
Line is a critical part of any boat, from a small dinghy, racing big boat to a large power superyacht and everything in between.
All sailboats need line. Line is used anchoring or tie a boat to a dock or mooring. Line is used to hoist, trim, and adjust sails. Line is also used in emergencies to tow a disabled boat, to make temporary repairs, or to lash down loose gear in a storm.
Modern line used on boats today is made of plastic, which lasts longer and is stronger than the natural fibers (cotton, linen, and hemp) used in the past.
Some types of line are better suited to particular tasks than others. There are three major features to consider when selecting line: material, construction, and tensile strength.
Three-strand twist allows for more stretch, so it is mainly used to enhance nylon’s elasticity. Braided construction minimizes stretch, so it is mainly used with polyester to reduce elasticity. You will often see two terms in line descriptions: ' double braid' and 'single braid', which refer to the way the line is constructed. A double braid line has a cover and a core at the most basic level, whereas a single braid does not, but there are other important distinctions to consider when making a line selection.
A line’s tensile strength is based on the load it can take without breaking. Tensile strength increases with thickness. A slight increase in thickness provides a large increase in tensile strength but also an increase in cost. However, it is a good safety practice to use line that has several times the tensile strength you might ever expect to need.
Clean line works better and lasts longer. Sand and grit weaken line by gradually grinding away the fibers. Dirt and grit also transfer to turning blocks and other fittings, preventing them from working properly. Oils can make line slippery and dangerous to handle. Remove sand, dirt, mud, and oils by regularly rinsing lines in freshwater with detergent.
Two types of plastic line most common on recreation and cruising sailboats are nylon and polyester. Nylon is less expensive and a bit stronger than polyester, but polyester is more stable. Each has its place on a sailboat.
Nylon is best used for anchor, dock, and mooring lines. Nylon is quite strong, and under heavy loads, it can stretch up to 10 percent. Its elasticity absorbs the constant tensioning and easing of a boat rocking, rising and falling in choppy sea conditions. Nylon’s natural elasticity helps ease the strain on deck hardware (cleats), improving the holding power of anchors.
Polyester, or Dacron, is popular for all running rigging because of its low stretch. When you hoist or trim in a sail, you want it to stay put, not stretch back toward where it started. There are two main types of construction used in line making: three-strand twist and braided.
Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer material that has a wide variety of uses. For sailors, it offers a line that is tough, flexible, and strong yet lightweight enough to float which makes this ideal for dinghies and small keel boats. It is commonly used as a dinghy tow rope, an economy dinghy mainsheet, or even as a spinnaker take down line on larger keel boats.
Polypropylene is very light sensitive.
Dyneema, Spectra, & Vectran are plastic lines specially formulated for non-stretch control lines, halyards, and sheet applications.
Spectra is a fiber that is very similar to Dyneema in its molecular structure. Both fibers are incredibly strong and are highly resistant to fatigue.
Spectra® is a super fiber approximately five times stronger than steel. It is part of the polyethylene family of plastics, and in addition to its strength, Spectra Fiber is known for its durability, abrasion resistance, and lightweight structure.
Dyneema®, an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, is an ultra-strong, ultra-light material. Dyneema has a slightly different molecular structure than Spectra and higher breaking strength in the larger diameters. It displays slightly better wear characteristics in heavy use areas but has more elasticity than Spectra.
While Spectra has the highest fatigue resistance, Dyneema is more resistant to wear in most heavy use areas.
Kevlar® (Twaron®, Technora®) made of para-aramid is very strong and slightly stronger than Carbon Fiber.
Vectran™ is similar to aramids in strength; when compared to aramid, Vectran™ is more creep resistant, more chemical resistant, more abrasion resistant, in both wet and dry conditions, more impact resistant, better at vibration damping, and less UV degradation resistant.
Shockcord, or bungee, is used on small sailboats to secure daggerboards, centerboards, hiking straps, and more. This stretchy line is useful anywhere you need give in an attachment point. Shockcord is a unique type of line that stretches and then recovers back to the original length. The core comprises parallel strands of round latex rubber yielding 85% to 100% elongation and recovery, with a polyester cover.
A shipshape boat has its hull and all its equipment clean, neat, and ready for action. Keeping all gear prepared and ready helps avoid problems. For example, if you need to anchor quickly in an emergency but the anchor line is tangled, the boat could drift into danger before you could untangle the line and set the anchor.
Do your best to keep the boat clean at all times, inside and out: the bilges free of water and dirt, the waterline and bottom free of marine growth, topsides free of marks and damage, and the cockpit and decks free of loose gear.
Do the following routinely after any sail:
Sailboats have a variety of metal parts and fittings. For example, standing rigging, chain plates, and tangs hold the mast up; cleats, blocks, and fairleads help control the running rigging, and deck cleats and chocks are used to tie the boat up at a dock or mooring. We depend on metal parts to remain strong, but nearly all metals naturally corrode over time, especially when close to water and humidity.
When air and water are present, they can cause a type of corrosion called oxidation, in which a chemical change takes place on metal surfaces, often discoloring the metal. Rust is a familiar form of oxidation that occurs on iron and steel and turns the surface reddish brown. When copper oxidizes, it turns green. When aluminum oxidizes, it turns white. If left alone, oxidation will gradually cause metal to disintegrate.
Sailboat parts are usually made of metals that resist oxidation, such as stainless steel and special types of aluminum. If you need to replace or add any metal parts to your boat, be sure to get them from a store that sells marine-grade hardware—hardware made especially for boats.
Electrolysis is a type of corrosion that occurs when two different metals react with one another. When different metals come into contact, particularly when moisture is present, one of them will gradually disintegrate. Sometimes metal parts that are simply near each other, not even touching, can react if they are underwater. Electrolysis is a slow process that may lead to gear failure weeks, months, or even years after it begins.
Reinforced fiberglass is strong and durable. It will last for many years with little or no maintenance. However, the polyester gel coat that gives it its colorful, shiny finish needs some attention.
Over time the color of the gel coat may fade, and the shine may turn dull. You can restore the color and shine with a two-step process.
Marine growth, such as barnacles and slime, will grow on a boat’s bottom within a few days if a boat is left in the water at a dock or mooring and not hauled out. This growth, or fouling, will significantly slow a boat because it causes drag. Fouling gets worse the longer a boat remains in the water unprotected.
Boats left in the water at a mooring or marina slip need to have their bottoms coated with antifouling paint, which discourages marine growth. The paint needs to be reapplied once or twice annually, depending on the location and length of the boating season. Antifouling paint is poisonous and should never be applied to anything other than boat bottoms. When you use it, be sure to follow the directions printed on the label and observe all the precautions. Wear gloves while applying it, and clean up carefully after using it.
Abaft. Toward the stern, behind.
Abeam. Directly to the side of the boat.
Aboard. On or in the boat.
About. On the opposite tack.
Adrift. Not made fast; lying around loose; not under control.
Aft, after. At or near the stern, or rear end, of the boat.
Alee. To the leeward side, when the helm is in the opposite direction to that of the wind.
Aloft. Above the deck.
Amidships. Halfway between bow and stem or port and starboard; in the middle of the boat.
Anchorage. A sheltered area where boats can anchor in reasonable safety and not interfere with marine traffic.
Astern. Behind the boat, or backward. An object is astern when it is behind the boat. A boat is going astern or making sternway when it is moving backward.
Awash. Level with the water, with water rolling over the deek.
Aweigh. The position of an anchor when it is clear of the ground.
Backstay. A wire brace or synthetic line led aft to support the mast.
Bail. To throw water out of a boat.
Ballast. Heavy weight packed or built into the bottom of a boat to give stability.
Battens. Thin strips of wood, fiberglass, or carbon fiber fitted into pockets to support a sail’s leech.
Beam. The maximum width of the boat.
Beam reach. ailing with the wind coming across the boat's beam.
Beam sea. A sea running at right angles to the boat's course.
Beam wind. Wind at right angles to the boat's course.
Bear away (or off, also head off, fall off). Sail away from the wind rather than holding up to it.
Bearing. The direction of an object relative to the bow. Beating. Sailing into the wind by alternate tacks.
Beating to windward. Making progress against the direction of the wind when sailing on the wind or close-hauled. Sailing to windward by zigzag tacks.
Belay. To stop. A line is belayed when it is secured or made fast.
Belaying pin. A wooden or metal pin fitted into a rail; used to secure sheets and halyards.
Below. In the cabin or under the deck.
Bend. To make fast. Bending sails is fitting them onto their spars or stays; bending lines is joining them together.
Bight. Any part of a rope except the ends; usually refers to a curl or loop in a rope.
Bilge. The curved or angular part of the hull where the bottom and sides meet; also, the space under the cabin floor or cockpit floorboards.
Bilge board. A kind of centerboard located in the bilge or opposite sides of the hull.
Binnacle. A protective casing for the compass.
Bitter end. The last part of a rope or the last link in an anchor chain; also called the running end or free end.
Block. A device consisting of an outside shell and a sheave (a roller or pulley) through which a rope or line is passed.
Bollard. On a pier, wharf, or boat, a short, heavy post to which docking lines are passed.
Bolt rope. A rope sewn around the edge of a sail to strengthen it.
Boom. A pole or spar to which the foot (lower edge) of a sail is bent (attached).
Boom crutch. A notched upright board or metal structure into which
the boom fits when sails are furled or off the spars.
Bow. The forward, or front, end of the boat.
Cuddy. A small, partitioned space for storage under the foredeck
Cunningham. A type of downhaul used to change the shape of a sail. The cunningham differs from a typical downhaul in the way that it attaches to the sail.
Daggerboard. A shaped plate that lowers vertically below the boat by sliding up and down, and can be removed completely from the boat, unlike a centerboard, which is hinged in a well or below the boat’s hull.
Ditty hag. A small bag for carrying for stowing small articles.
Downhaul. A cackle or rope to hold down a sail or spar. Used to adjust tension along the leading edge of the sail.
Draft. The depth of the hull from the waterline to the lowest point of the keel (or centerboard when lowered.)
Dry rot. Decay in wood caused by a fungus, usually stemming from poor ventilation.
Ease. To slacken.
Embark. To go on board.
Fairlead or fairleader. A ring, an eye, or sometimes a block used to guide a rope in the right direction, usually associated with jib sheets.
Faking down. A method of coiling rope so that each fake (flat coil) overlaps the preceding one and is free to run out rapidly.
Fathom. A nautical measure equal to 6 feet.
Fender. Canvas, wood, rope, or plastic (vinyl) used over the side to protect a boat's sides against chafing (rubbing against the dock).
Flemishing down. Coiling a line flat on deck in concentric circles so that the line will not blow or wash off easily.
Floors. Short timbers bolted across the keel to frames for added structural strength.
Fluke. The flattened end of an anchor arm; the end of a hook.
Foot. A sail's lower edge.
Fore. At or toward the boat's bow.
Fore and aft. In line with the keel.
Forestay. A wire that leads from the mast to the bow.
Forward. In front of.
Foul. Not clear; jammed.
Frame. The skeleton of a boat.
Freeboard. The part of a boat that is out of the water.
Furl. To gather up and secure a sail or awning.
Gaff. A spar that the head of a sail is attached to.
Gear. A general term for ropes, blocks, tackle, and equipment.
Go about. To turn the boat's bow through the wind.
Gooseneck. A fitting used to hold the boom to the mast.
Ground tackle. The anchor and anchoring gear.
Gudgeon. A support for a rudder.
Gunwale. The upper edge of a boat's side or rail (pronounced GUNn'I).
Guy. A steadying rope.
Halyard. A line used for hoisting sails.
Hank. A ring around a stay.
Hatch. An opening through the deck or cabin to the area below.
Head. A sail's top corner. A boat's toilet.
Headsail. A sail set forward of the foremost mast.
Heave. To throw (as a line ashore); the rise and fall of a vessel on the water.
Heave in. To pull (as on an anchor line).
Heaving line. A light line attached to a heavier line and thrown to a pier or other vessel. Can be used to make a rescue.
Heel. The angle a boat tips at when sailing.
Helm. The device with which one steers.
Helmsman (or Helmsperson). The person who steers.
Hike out. To sit out hard on the edge of the boat to keep the boat flat in a strong wind.
Hull. The main body or shell of the boat. Does not include deckhouses, flying bridges, etc.
In irons. To be headed into the wind and not bear one way or another.
Inland Rules. The Rules of the Road, enacted by Congress, govern navigation on inland waters of the United States.
In stays. To be headed into the wind with all sails shaking.
Jetsam. Things that sink when thrown overboard. (flotsam floats.)
Jib. A triangular sail set forward of the mast.
Jibe (sometimes spelled gybe). To bring a sailboat from one tack to the other by swinging its stern through the wind.
Jib sheet. The line by which the angle of the jib is controlled.
Keel. The boat's "backbone."
Knot. A measure of speed on the water equal to one nautical mile (6,076 feet) per hour.
Lanyard. A rope made fast to an article.
Lee. The side opposite that from which the wind blows; the opposite of weather.
Lee helm. A condition in which a boat tends to swing leeward unless held on course.
Leeboard. A shaped plate similar to a centerboard but secured over the side of a small boat or sailing canoe.
Leech. The after edge of a fore-and-aft sail.
Leeward. The direction away from the wind (pronounced LOOard).
Limber holes. Holes in floor timbers or frames that allow bilgewater to drain into the lowest part of the hull.
Loose-footed. A sail without a boom or is attached to the boom only at the tack and clew is called loose-footed.
Luff. The forward, or entering, edge of a sail; to luff up is to head in to the wind. Luffing is changing course to bring the bow into the wind so that the sails are flapping loosely.
Mainmast. The principal mast.
Mainsail. The sail set on and abaft of the mainmast; the boat's main or principal sail.
Mainsheet. The line by which the trim (angle) of the mainsail is controlled.
Mast. A vertical spar that supports the sails.
Mizzenmast. The after and shorter of two masts on yawls and ketches; the aftermost of three masts on three-masted schooners or barks.
Mooring. The anchor, chain, buoy, etc., that anchors a boat.
Mooring pendant or pennant. A line that is part of a boat's mooring.
Outboard. Toward the sides of a vessel or outside of it.
Outhaul. A device or line used to control the tension on the foot of a sail.
Overhang. The projection of the bow and stern beyond the waterline.
Painter. A line secured in the bow for towing or securing a boat.
Pay out. To let out a line made fast on board.
Pintle. A metal rod or bolt secured to the rudder and fitting into the gudgeons in a hinge-like fashion, allowing the rudder to swing.
Point. One of the thirty-two divisions of a compass card; 11.25 degrees; to sail or head close to the wind.
Port. The left-hand side of a boat when looking toward the bow.
Privileged vessel. A vessel having the right of way, or stand-on vessel.
Rail. A boat's side above the deck line.
Reach. To sail across the wind.
Reef. To reduce the area of sail.
Rigging. The wires and ropes that support the spars and allow control of the sails.
Rudder. A blade at the boat's stern used to steer the boat.
Running. Sailing directly away from the wind, or downwind.
Sheave. A grooved wheel in a block, mast, or yard over which a rope passes.
Sheet. A line used to pull or trim sails in toward the side of the boat.
Shrouds. Wire supports leading from the upper part of the mast to the deck on either side.
Spars. Masts and booms.
Staff. An upright pole to which a flag or light is affixed.
Starboard. The right-hand side of a boat when looking toward the bow.
Stem. More-or-less vertical timber where bows join; the boat's entering edge.
Stemhead fitting. The top of the stem where the jib stay is fastened. The jib also is tacked to this fitting.
Step. The point into which the heel, or lower end, of the mast fits or stops.
Stem. The after, or back, end of boat.
Stow. To put gear, equipment, or personal items away in a safe place.
Swab. A seagoing name for a mop, also, to clean, as in "swab the deck."
Tack. The lower forward corner of a fore-and-aft sail. To sail close-hauled on the wind. To turn the bow through the wind. The change from one tack to another by coming about.
Telltale. A thread or ribbon fastened to the masthead or shrouds, and sometimes sewn onto the sails, to indicate apparent wind.
Thwart. A seat extending across the boat.
Thwartships. At right angles to the fore-and-aft line.
Tiller. A length of wood or metal attached to the rudder head by which the boat is steered.
Topsides. The sides of the hull above the waterline.
Transom. A flat surface at the back of the hull to which the rudder is attached.
Trick. A period of duty at the helm.
Trim. The fore-and-aft and side-to-side angle of a boat in the water. Also, to adjust sails as the wind changes.
Underway. Moving through the water. (Technically, a boat is underway when its dock lines are cast off, its anchor is aweigh, and it is not aground.) A boat makes headway going forward, sternway going backward, and leeway when pushed sideways by the wind.
Unship. To take apart or remove from its place; the opposite of stow.
Veer. To slack off and allow to run out (as in "veering more anchor lin "). To turn away from an obstacle or course.
Way on. Movement of a boat through the water.
Weather. Windward; the opposite of leeward.
Weather helm. A boat with a tendency to swing into the wind unless heId on course.
Windward. Toward the wind.
Yaw. A vessel yaws or is yawing when it swings widely from one side of the course to the other-usually when running before heavy quartering seas.
As far as the wind is concerned, there are just three ways to sail: with the wind, against the wind, and across the wind. These are known as the points of sailing, and each has a special word to identify it. Sailing with the wind (the wind behind you) is called Running. Sailing toward the wind is called Beating. Sailing across the wind is called reaching. Often reaching is further divided into Beam Reach, Close Reach, and Broad Reach.
Reaching or sailing across the wind is probably the easiest of the three. You have the power of the wind at your side, neither dangerously pushing you from behind nor stubbornly resisting you from the front. Set your course, then set your sails at the angle that will keep you on this course. Usually, more sail is exposed to the wind in reaching, which makes it the fastest point of sail.
If you think running has to be easy because you have the wind at your back, think again. Running can be tricky, even dangerous. Running before a strong wind can capsize a boat. Or your craft may broach, which means it will swing broadside to the wind, lose headway, and leave you at the wind’s mercy.
If your course is north, say, and the wind is coming at you from the north, you are in the “no-go area,” and you have a problem, which is that it is impossible to sail directly into the wind. You can solve the problem by beating – doing a series of tacks right and left in an imaginary line between start and finish known as your course line, or baseline.
You sail on the starboard tack for a distance, as close to the wind as you can, then switch to the port tack and sail for a similar distance, equally close to the wind. Keep alternating this way, and each tack will bring you closer to your finish point.
Beating is a little like going up a steep mountain via a series of switchbacks. It’s too steep to go straight up; you gain altitude gradually by taking gentler slopes to the right and left.
Does taking take you out of your way – force you to cover more distance than a direct route would? Yes, but it gets you there.
Tacking works best when the mainsail and the jib are set to work together properly. Neither must be trimmed too flat or eased too much. I the mainsail luffs, the helmsman might be sailing too close to the wind. This is called pinching the boat. Or, the mainsail might not be trimmed enough, or the jib might be trimmed too flat.
If the jib luffs, it might not be trimmed flat enough, or the boat might be sailing too close to the wind. Ease off.
To jibe (sometimes seen spelled gybe) means to swing the boat’s stern to that the boom swings across the boat, and the wind is brought from one quarter to the other. (In jibing, the stern passes through the wind.)
To make a flying jibe, bear off before the wind with the main boom out all the way. When the wind catches the backside of the sail near the end of the boom, it will send the boom flying across the boat, which can put a strain on the boat and you if you are not careful.
A controlled jibe is one in which every move of the crew and helmsman is coordinated such that sail and boat are always under control. When the helmsman calls “Stand by to jibe!” or “Ready to jibe?” the centerboard is lowered, and the mainsheet is hauled in rapidly. Keep the main under control; easing is gradually to avoid “smalling” the mainsail to the opposite side of the boat. If the main is not controlled, damage can occur. The instant the main boom is amidships, the helmsman shouts “Jibe-ho!” and shoves the tiller toward the weather side of the boat. This swings the boat’s stern so that the wind is now on the other side of the mainsail. The helmsman’s job is to keep the boat’s nose pointed downwind. If the helmsman allows it to swing toward the wind, this might cause the boat to broach – to lie on its lea side, its bow buried, and stern raised and lifting so much the rudder out of the water that control is lost.
under construction ...
1.a Hazards While Sailing, 1.b Sailing First Aid, 1.c and 4.a Safety Afloat, 3.Boat Diagrams, and 4.b Rules of the Road
4.c Weather Conditions and Sailing, 4.d Weather Warnings, 4.e Float Plan, 4.f Warm and Cold weather sailing gear, 5.…
7.a Knots 7.b Heaving, Coiling and Faking a Line, 7.c Kinds of lines, braids, and materials, 8. Boat maintenance, 9.…
Jr Sailing Parents and Sailors
HYC Jr Sailing Committee appreciates all the hard work and perseverance of the sailors, parents, and coaches through the Summer of 2020; it was far from usual for everyone.
The first Open House for registration will be Sunday, January 25th, 2021, from 1 pm to 4 pm. There will be discounts for all who register by January 25th.
The second Open House for registration will be Sunday, February 28th, 2021, from 1 pm to 4 pm. There will be somewhat smaller discounts for all who register by March 1st.
We look forward to seeing you all again next Summer.
HYC Jr. Sail Committee