Sailors Choice
Nautical Terms


FCC RULES Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations governing radio equipment and operation in the United States and its coastal waters.
FAIR WIND Wind coming over the beam, quarters or stern, abaft of the beam
FAIR LEAD  Deck hardware, usually with an eye used to lead line 
FAIRWAY The "lanes" used for passageway in a harbor, the channel way
FAST To secure, tie off, cleat, knot or fasten
FATHOM Six feet of depth
FENDER Protective devices placed alongside the freeboard to protect the hull.  Old tires, sponges, rolled nets, hawsers were all called defenders, thus "fender"
FETCH 1) Making a mark or location when sailing to windward without tacking
2)  The distance wind and waves can travel toward land without being blocked. 
FIBERGLASS A construction medium using layers of woven glass mats that are bonded together with glue (epoxy).
FIGURE EIGHT KNOT A knot made in the end of a line to prevent its backing through a block 
FIN KEEL A keel that is narrower and deeper than a full keel
FISHERMAN'S BEND A knot used to fasten a cable to the anchor
FIX The charted position of a boat made by taking two or more bearings on known landmarks
FLAKE 1) A complete loop in coiling down a line so that it can run free
2) To fold  the sail in layers on the boom
FLARE 1)safety equipment-an unsteady glaring light produced by an incendiary device
2) the rise of a boat hull that "flares" out from the water line to the deck, usually at the bow
FLATTEN IN To trim  the sheets in
FLAW A gust stronger than the prevailing wind
FLOOD The time when the flow of the tide is toward the land
FLOTSAM Debris floating on the water surface.
FLUKE 1) The broad flat parts of an anchor that are designed to grab and hold in the bottom
2) The fin on a whale
FLY The wind direction indicator on the masthead
FOIL A winglike surface below the hull that, when moving through water,
lifts the hull out of the water (plane-ing) allowing greater speeds
FOOT The bottom edge of a sail
FORE The part of a boat or things forward of amidships
FORE AND AFT  Following the line of the keel, from bow to stern
FORECASTLE The crew quarters on a traditional sailing ship forward of the main mast 
FOREDECK The deck area forward of the mast, to work foredeck is to change the headsail or tack or jibe the spinnaker
FOREFOOT The point where the stem joins the keel
FOREMAST The mast nearest the bow
FOREPEAK The compartment at the bow of the vessel
FOREREACH The headway a vessel makes when luffed in the wind
FORESAIL The sail set from the foremast on a schooner
FORESTAY Also known as the headstay, a line running from the bow of the boat to the upper part of the mast, designed to pull the mast forward. A forestay that attaches slightly below the top of the mast can be used to help control the rake of the mast. 
FORWARD Towards the bow
FORWARD OFF THE BEAM  Any direction less than 90 degrees off the bow
FOUL 1) To be tangled (line) or in turmoil (air)
2) In racing, a rules infraction
 FREE 1) To sail with the wind from the quarters of stern
2)  In racing, when not sailing close-hauled
FREEBOARD The distance from the deck lip to the water
FULL AND BY The point of sail when all sails are full and drawing and the course is close-hauled 
FULL KEEL A keel that runs the length of the boat and having  a shallower draft than fin keels
FURL To lower a sail or bring it in partially furled to reduce the amount of sail area in use without completely lowering the sail (reefing).   A self furling rig winds the sail around the stay or into a itself. 
These are informative only and are not the last word!
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