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ASA 103 Cruising Sailboat Terminology

· ASA103,sailing

You should be able to identify, describe, and explain the function of these parts / areas / systems.


A turnbuckle is a screw used for tightening wire rigging, such as the wire stays that support the mast.

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Chainplates are pieces of metal that turnbuckles are usually attached to. They serve to connect stays or shrouds to the hull.

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Stemhead Fitting

A fitting installed on the bow to which the forestay and jib tack are attached.

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On boats that have an internal rudder (meaning the rudder is not hanging off the back of the boat), there is a post that goes through the deck. The rudder pivots on the rudderpost.


The transom is the surface at the stern (the back) of the boat that closes the hull.

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A binnacle is the housing for a ship's compass.

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Cockpit Lockers

Cockpit lockers are the storage areas in the cockpit, usually the space underneath the cockpit seats. These may be accessed by lifting up the seats, or via a hatch.

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A bed on a boat is a berth. The bed in the forward cabin, shaped like the letter V, is called a V-berth.

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V-berth of a Benetau Oceanis 35


A windlass is a type of winch used primarily for raising an anchor.

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Bilge Pump

The lowest part of the boat that is accessible from inside the boat is called the bilge. The bilge pump is inside of that, and its purpose is to remove any water that may have gotten inside.

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Auxiliary Engine

Many sailboats have a motor onboard, referred to as the auxiliary engine, for navigating marinas or powering the boat when wind conditions are not ideal for sailing. The engine is referred as auxiliary, which is defined as "providing supplementary or additional help and support", because it is not intended to be the main source of power for propelling the boat.

Through-hull Fitting

A through-hull fitting is simply a fitting in the hull used to discharge or draw in water.

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A seacock is a marine valve, often fitted over a through-hull fitting.

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