Sailors Choice
The Anatomy of a Sail

Here are the basics of a sail and the terms that you should know, both when purchasing a new sail and using that new sail!

ASPECT RATIO - The height of a sail or luff length in relation to its width. HEAD - The top edge of a four sided sail
or the top corner of a triangular sail.
BOLTROPE - Rope sewn along one or more edges of a sail to strengthen it and take some of the stress of the cloth when it is stretched tightly.
LUFF - The front or leading edge of a sail.

ROACH - The part of the sail that extends beyond the straight line between the head and the clew. Roach is sometimes also applied to the foot.
CHORD - A straight line between the luff and leech of a sail.
CAMBER - The fore and aft curvature of a sail in relation to its chord.
LEECH - The aftmost or back edge of a sail.
HANK - A metal or nylon clip used to hold the luff of a headsail or staysail to the forestay
TACK - The lower, forward corner of a sail. FOOT - The lowest edge of a sail. CLEW - The lower, aft corner of a fore-and-aft sail, where the leech meets the foot.
BROADSEAM - A seam in a sail, in which the edges of neighboring panels are cut in a convex curve, so that when they are sewn together the resulting taper in the panels forces fullness into the sail. TABLING - The folded hem sewn to the edges of a sail to reinforce them. CROSSCUT - Sails in which the panels of cloth run perpendicular to the
FILL - The thread that runs across sail cloth from edge to edge.

WARP - The threads that run lengthwise in a woven sailcloth across the fill threads.

STARCUT - Sails in which the panels of cloth radiate from all corners, along the warp

VERTICAL CUT - Sails in which the panels of cloth run vertically or parallel to the luff.

BI-RADIAL - Sails in which the panels of cloth radiate from the head and the clew, along the warp.

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