Sailors Choice
Nautical Terms

BBB    BRAVO    BBB   

BABY STAY Secondary forestay supporting the leading edge of the mast and used to flatten the mainsail in building winds.  Usually hydraulic
BACK  1) The wind shifts its direction counterclockwise 
2) To trim a sail to windward
BACK SPLICE A splice formed when a  crown knot is made in the end of a piece of line and the ends are woven three times or more into the standing part of the line
BACKING & FILLING Alternatively letting the sails fill then spilling wind,  to keep a boat in one place
BACKSPRING A spring line from the stern of a boat to mid ships to stop forward movement
BACKSTAY  Standing or running (adjustable) wire  rigging that supports the mast from the aft stern
BACKWIND  Wind that is deflected from it's normal course by the sails
BACKWIND A SAIL  Causing the  wind to fill  the back or low pressure side of the sail, used to slow a boat 
BAGGY WINKLES Tassels of unravelled line that are lashed around chafe spots to minimize chafing on the sails
BAIL To remove water from the boat
BAILERS Bilge troughs in a small boat to funnel water overboard when underway
BALANCE Set up and trim of all equipment and the sails so that there is  a slight weather helm.
BALE Metal ring on a boom, pole or mast  used to attach blocks or shackles
BALLAST Weight in a boat to give it stability and prevent over-heeling.  Crew on the high side may be called movable ballast
BALLOON JIB A reaching headsail that has a big draft and is usually light-weight
BARBER HAUL A block and tackle set-up used to change the athwart ships lead of the jib sheet
BARE BOAT CHARTER Chartering a boat that you skipper yourself, no paid captain
BARE POLES  A boat under way with all sails furled
BARGE To force (be high) your way illegally between another boat and the starting line  
BAROMETER An instrument that measures atmospheric pressure in inches or millibars of mercury
BATTENS   Light, thin strips of wood or plastic inserted in batten pockets in the sail to stiffen the sail and extend the leech
BEAM  The greatest width of a boat
BEAM REACH Point of sail when the apparent wind  from directly abeam
BEAM WIND  One which blows across a boat's side
BEAMY  Wide, a wide  boat is a beamy boat
BEAR  To  approach from windward is to bear down, to bear off is to sail away to leeward
BEARING . Direction of an object from another  in compass points or degrees
BEATING Working to windward by a series of tacks A point of sail also known as sailing close hauled 
BEAUFORT SCALE A number system used to describe wind forces and sea conditions from 0 for a flat calm to 12 for a hurricane
BECKET An eye in the end of a block in which to secure a line 
BEFORE THE WIND Having the wind coming from behind or aft the boat, going the same direction as the wind is blowing
BELAY  To make fast a line to a cleat or belaying pin
BELLS The use of the bells to mark the time began in the period when seamen could not afford a personal time piece (i.e. - a watch) and  even if they could, they had no idea on how to tell time.  The bells mark the hours of the watch in half-hour increments. The seamen would know if it were morning, noon, or night. Each watch* is four hours long and the bells are struck thus:
Mid  Morning Forenoon  Afternoon  Dogs*  First
0030 - 1 bell  0430 - 1 bell  0830 - 1 bell  1230 - 1 bell  1630 - 1 bell 2030 - 1 bell
0100 - 2 bells 0500 - 2 bells  0900 - 2 bells 1300 - 2 bells  1700 - 2 bells  2100 - 2 bells
0130 - 3 bells  0530 - 3 bells  0930 - 3 bells 1330 - 3 bells 1730 - 3 bells  2130 - 3 bells
0200 - 4 bells 0600 - 4 bells 1000 - 4 bells 1400 - 4 bells 1800 - 4 bells  2200 - 4 bells
0230 - 5 bells 0630 - 5 bells 1030 - 5 bells 1430 - 5 bells 1830 - 5 bells 2230 - 5 bells
0300 - 6 bells 0700 - 6 bells 1100 - 6 bells 1500 - 6 bells 1900 - 6 bells 2300 - 6 bells
0330 - 7 bells 0730 - 7 bells 1130 - 7 bells 1530 - 7 bells  1930 - 7 bells 2330 - 7 bells
0400 - 8 bells ** 0800 - 8 bells 1200 - 8 bells 1600 - 8 bells 2000 - 8 bells 2400 - 8 bells

Notes: * - The time from 1600 to 2000 is split into two dog watches. These watches run from 1600 to 1800 and from 1800 to 2000. This alternates the daily watch routine so Sailors on the mid-watch would not have it the second night, and, the split also gives each watch the opportunity to eat the evening meal. ** - The end of the watch is considered at 8 bells, hence the saying "Eight Bells and All Is Well."     

BELOW Beneath the decks, ie, inside a cabin or in a hold
BEND  To fasten one line end to another using a  knot
BERTH 1)A narrow sailor's bed or the slip where a boat is moored 
BIGHT  Any section a line between the ends
BILGE  The area of the hull below the waterline. The lower internal part of a boat's hull, adjacent to the keels. The place where water collects
BILGE PUMP  A pump to drain the place where water collects
BIMINI A weather protection covering, usually mounted on a frame over a portion of the cockpit. Can be of fabric, i.e., canvas or hard material, i.e., fiberglass or plastic.
BINNACLE The pedestal usually where the wheel is mounted that holds the compass and nav equipment 
BITT  A vertical post extending above the deck for securing mooring lines
BITTER END The end of a line or last link of chain
BLANKET  To block  the wind from the sails of a boat that is to leeward 
BLOCK  A piece of hardware consisting of a shive inside a frame  which a line is run through.  A line through a block forms a tackle
BLOCK & TACKLE Combination of blocks and line to afford a mechanical advantage
BLOOPER Light-weight fore sail similar to a spinnaker but set  without a pole. 
BOARD  A leg or tack when sailing close-hauled
BOAT SPEED Speed through the water, not over ground
BOATSWAIN Crew member responsible for upkeep on the hull, riggin and sails.  Pronounced bo sun.
BOBSTAY A wire stay from the bow to the end of a bowsprit to counteract the upward pull of a forestay 
BOLLARD  A strong post securing lines
BOLT ROPE  A rope sewn to the edges of a sail for additional strength and along the luff of some mainsails to insert in a track on the mast in order to raise it
BOOM  A spar at the foot  of a sail attached to the mast
BOOM CRUTCH A notched support built off the deck for the boom when the sail is furled
BOOM PREVENTER A block and tackle attached to the boom and the deck to prevent the main from flopping over when sailing downwind
BOOM-VANG  A block &  tackle secured to the boom to flatten the sail and to prevent it from lifting  when off the wind by a downward pull on the boom
BOOT-TOP  A painted stripe along the waterline delineating the topside from the bottom paint
BOSUN'S CHAIR Canvas or wood seat attached a halyard to raise and lower someone to work on the mast
BOTTOM 1) The underside of the hull that sits in the water 
2) The ocean floor
BOW  The forward end of the boat, the pointy end
BOWDITCH, Nathaniel The "author" of navigation and seamanship, Bowditch's referring to his book
BOWLINE  A knot used to form a loop in the end of a line
BOWSPRIT A spar attached to and extending forward from the bow to provide additional sail area 
BRIDGE The area from which a vessel is controlled, usually applied to engine powered vessels
BRIGHTWORK  All wood that is varnished or polished metal
BRING ABOUT To reverse directions, to turn around
BRISTOL FASHION  Keep in a seaman-like manner
BRIGHT WORK Wood trim and any metal needing polishing on a vessel
BROACH  To go over violently toward the wind and lose steering , a "knock down" 
BROAD REACH A point of sail when the wind comes from either quarter
BULKHEAD  Vertical partition in a boat, the "walls"
BULWARK A railing around the deck of a boat to keep  things from going overboard and the seas from coming aboard
BUOY A floating mark or mooring  anchored in place sometimes with whistles or bells 
BUOYANCY Degree of floatability
BURDENED VESSEL The vessel without right-of-way that must keep clear of a vessel that does have the right of way
BURGEE A small flag , usually triangular, flown from the starboard spreader on a sailboat or the bow on power vessels to denote yacht club affiliation
BY THE LEE  Sailing with the wind coming from the same side that the sails are trimmed on
BY THE WIND  Sailing close-hauled

These are informative only and are not the last word!
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