Understanding some of the terms we use on our website


Anchor: One method of ‘parking’ your yacht, usually for a lunchtime stop in a quiet bay. A chain or line with a weighted hook on the end that grips the bottom of the sea floor and prevents your yacht from floating away.

Apparent wind: A combination of the true wind direction and the headwind created by a yacht’s forward motion.

Ashore: On the shore. Not on the yacht. Why are you not on the yacht?


Baggywrinkle: A soft covering for cables (or any other obstructions) that stops sails chafing.

Bareboat: Bareboat is to sailing as free fall is to skydiving. Essentially it is sailing a yacht on your own. It is exhilarating, exciting and the rush of freedom is infectious.

Beam: The width of the yacht.

Berths: The number of people able to sleep on a specified yacht.

Boom: The big, wide metal thing that sticks out from the mast at 90 degrees and is attached to the foot of the sail. Also the noise it makes when it hits you. Avoid this at all costs.

Bow: The front of the yacht, not a pretty knot.

Bridle: A system used to share the strain of an anchor evenly across two points. It reduces wear on the yacht, acts as a shock absorber, and silences the rattle of the anchor chain. Also helps prevent your catamaran from floating away.


Cabins: Bedrooms on a yacht.

Catamaran: A boat with two hulls.

Chart: The map on which you check your position and plan your next voyage.


Dinghy: Designed for quick trips between ship and shore. The small inflatable boat attached to the yacht.

Draft: Not a type of beer. The minimum depth of water needed to float your boat.

Dunsel: A part on a ship that has no use.


Ease: To let the sails out.


Fender: The rubber bubbly thing dangling off the side of the boat or a pontoon to help prevent damage to the boat or pontoon.

Flemish: To coil a line that is not in use so that it lies flat on the deck.

Forepeaks: The forward section of the hull that, depending on the yacht’s design, may be used as a sleeping space or a storage area. Not a mountain range.

Flotilla: A fun group sailing holiday with up 12 boats, with guidance and support from a lead boat with a Skipper, Engineer, and Host. This type of holiday is a Sunsail specialty.


Galley: The yacht’s kitchen.

Genoa: The sail at the front of the yacht. Ours have a big red stripe around the outside. This sail is used to control the direction of the yacht, as well as adding some power. Not an Italian city.

Gybe: To change from one tack to the other away from the wind, with the stern of the vessel turning through the wind.


Halyard: The ropes used to pull things like sails up things like masts.

Heads: Water closet, toilet, loo, dunny, the bog (you get it…).

Head to wind: See ‘In Irons’.

Hold: The inside of the yacht’s hull.

Helm: A tiller or wheel for steering the yacht. Also a term to describe the helmsman.

Hull: The bit that floats. The main body, including bottom and sides of a yacht. Not an English city.


In Irons: See ‘Head to wind’; when the bow is pointing into the wind and the boat is difficult to maneuver under sail.

Iron Mike: A slang term for auto-pilot. Not a famous boxer.

Itinerary: The intended route of travel on your flotilla or bareboat holiday. Usually planned in advance, these need to remain flexible to respond to weather conditions and personal preference.


Keel: The central structural basis of the hull

Knot: Not just the loop you tie in a rope or string, but also a the unit of speed (equal to one nautical mile an hour).


Lazyjack: A network of cordage led from a point on the mast to points on the boom that help the sail to go down smoothly when lowered.

LOA: Length overall – The maximum length of a yacht’s hull, including overhanging ends that extend beyond the main bow and main stern.

LWL: Load waterline length – the length of a yacht that is in contact with the water.


Mainsail: The yacht’s main sail. This catches a lot of wind, and is where the majority of the yacht’s speed is generated when sailing.

Mast: The big metal thing that soars from the bottom of the yacht into the sky. The sails are hoisted up it, using a complicated series of halyards

Med mooring: The art of reversing into a small gap and parking a yacht stern-to the quay. The typical mooring technique in most Mediterranean harbours. A great spectator sport.

Monohull: A boat with one hull. The classic sailor’s yacht.

Mooring: The second mode of ‘parking’- A buoy firmly anchored to the bottom, to which you are able to secure your yacht and prevents your yacht from floating away.


Nautical Mile: A measure of distance on the water, equal to 1852 meters.

Navigation: The art of working out (and occasionally planning) where you are and where you’re going.


Ocean: very large body of water.


Port: The left hand side of the boat when you face the front (bow). Not a fortified Portuguese wine.

Prow: A poetical alternative term for bows


Quay: A stone or metal platform lying alongside or projecting into the water for parking, loading and unloading yachts and ships.


Reefing: The primary and preferred method of reducing sail area, to de-power the yacht so that it is easier to control. Especially useful in higher winds and choppy conditions.

Rip rap: A man-made pile of rocks and rubble. Used to form a breakwater, often surrounding an off-shore lighthouse or vulnerable harbour. Not a musical genre.


Sails: The main driver of the yacht; an eco-friendly engine that converts wind power in boat speed by catching the breeze. Sailors constantly speak of trimming the sails to be as efficient as possible.

Saloon: The living area, usually down below. Not a wild west bar.

Skipper: The captain of your yacht.

Starboard: The right-hand side of the yacht when you face the front (bow). Opposite of port.

Stern: The rear of the yacht. Also the skipper’s tone when your yacht floats away.


Tacking: Zig-zagging so as to sail directly towards the wind (and for some yachts, also away from it).

Trampoline: You can try and bounce, but you probably won’t get very high. This is the netting at the front of the Catamaran that you can lie on and sun yourself.

Trim: Adjustments made to sails to maximise their efficiency. Also refers to position of hull relative to waterline.

True wind direction: Where the wind is actually coming from.


Water: The wet, blue bit your yacht floats on.

Waterline: The line where ship meets sea.

Winch: A rotating, horizontal drum, powered either by electric motor or human cranking.

Winch handle: The instrument used to crank a winch. Not a Two Ronnies sketch.


Yacht: Boat, ship, sailboat; the wooden, aluminium, fibreglass or carbon fibre thing that floats and is largely powered by the wind, which it catches in its sails.