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A Compass
The act of checking compass readings against known headings in order to determine the compass error.
Wind on the wrong side of the sails.
Toward the rear of the boat, behind the boat.
At a right angle to the length of the boat.
Off the side, even with the boat.
Accidental Jibe
An accidental jibe happens when the boat is steered or the wind shifts such that the stern of the boat accidentally passes through the eye of the wind. This causes that main boom to swing violently to the other side of the boat. Without proper preparation when jibing, the force of the boom's motion can be destructive, injuring the crew and damaging equipment. In strong winds and on large boats this force can dismast the boat and seriously injure crew members hit by the boom. Sometimes a preventer is used to reduce the possibility of an accidental jibe.
Formal measurement of a boat for documentation.
Admiralty Law
The "law of the sea".
Floating free with the currents and tide, not under control.
Having a shape that that is not adversely affected by wind flowing past it.
Aft, after
Toward the stern (rear) of the boat.
After Bow Spring Line
A mooring line fixed to the bow of the boat and leading aft where it is attached to the dock. This prevents the boat from moving forward in its berth. Its opposite, the forward quarter spring line, is used to keep the boat from moving aft in its berth.
Agonic Line
The line around the earth where there is no magnetic deviation between magnetic north (as measured by a compass) and true north.
When a boat is in water too shallow for it to float in, i.e: the boat's bottom is resting on the ground.
Aid to Navigation
Any fixed object that a navigator may use to find his position, such as permanent land or sea markers, buoys, radio beacons, and lighthouses.
To the leeward side (downwind).
Above the boat, in its rigging.
The outboard hulls of a trimaran.
In the center of the boat.
(1) A heavy metal object designed such that its weight and shape will help to hold a boat in its position when lowered to the sea bottom on a rode or chain. See kedge, lightweight, mushroom, and plow anchors. (2) The act of using an anchor.
Anchor Bell
A bell required to be rung at certain times when at anchor during fog, according to the navigation rules.
Anchor Bend
A type of knot used to fasten an anchor to its line.
Anchor Chain
A chain attached to the anchor. The chain acts partially as a weight to keep the anchor lying next to the ground so that it can dig in better. Chain is also not damaged as much as line when lying on rocks. The weight of the chain also helps to absorb changes in the boat's position due to waves.
Anchor Light
A white light, usually on the masthead, visible from all directions, used when anchored.
Anchor Locker
A locker used to store the anchor rode and anchor.
Anchor Rode
The line or chain attached to the anchor and secured to the boat.
Anchor Roller
Also called bow roller. A fitting with a small wheel that allows the anchor and chain to roll over when dropping or raising the anchor. Some anchor rollers also have a provision to store the anchor as well.
Anchor Watch
A watch kept when the boat is at anchor in case the anchor starts to drag.
Anchor Windlass
A windlass used to assist when raising the anchor.
A place where a boat anchors, usually an established and marked area.
A device that measures wind velocity.
Aneroid Barometer
A mechanical barometer used to measure air pressure for warnings of changing weather.
Poisonous paint used on the bottom of the boat to prevent barnacles and other organisms from growing on the ship's bottom.
Apparent Wind
The apparent direction of the wind, which is affected by a boat's motion. The apparent wind is only the same as the true wind if the boat is stopped.
Toward the stern of a vessel, or behind the boat.
At the Dip
A flag hoisted half way up a flagpole. Also see close up.
Athwart, Athwartships
Lying along the ship's width, at right angles to the vessels centerline.
Atmospheric Pressure
Also called barometric pressure. The weight of the atmosphere, an average of 1013.2 millibars or 29.2 inches of mercury at sea level. Measuring the changes in atmospheric pressure can help predict weather.
A device used to steer a boat automatically, usually electrical, hydraulic or mechanical in nature. A similar mechanism called self steering gear may also be used on a sailing vessel.
A second method of propelling a vessel. On a sailboat this could be a engine.
To raise an anchor off the bottom.
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