Sailing undoubtedly offers a whole lot of experiences like racing, adventuring, and cruising. These activities keep you engaged and also make your mundane life adventurous. Here is a complete list of some of the common phrases and words that a boating community uses. If you are a beginner in the field of sailing, or just about to embark on a week in a yacht in Corfu, it is important to know these terms. Whether you are learning how to sail or planning to buy a sailboat, these terms offer an overview of the basics that you should get well-versed with.


Aft is the back portion of the ship. When you see the location as aft, it means that it is placed towards the back of the boat. Stern is the other name for the aft.


Bow is the front side of the ship and it is important to know the location as it helps to define the other two commonly used terms in sailing, that of starboard and port. The left part of the bow is known as the port and the right part is known as the starboard.

Port and Starboard

The left-hand part of the boat is known as port when you face the bow. The left and right sides of the port are often confusing terms in sailing especially when you are using it in open waters. Therefore, port means the left part of the boat. Similarly, the right side of the boat is known as starboard.


Lee is another term that is used in sailing and it is the opposite direction where the wind is blowing presently.


Windward means the direction of the wind where it blows. It is the antonym of Leeward. It is needless to say that sailboats have a tendency to move along with the wind and hence knowing the direction of the wind and the term used for the same is imperative.


The horizontal pillar that expands from the lower portion of the mast is known as a boom. The boom needs to be adjusted as per the wind’s direction to harness the power of wind for movement. The movement can be either backward or forward.


This is placed below the boat. It is a flat piece of metal, fiberglass, or wood used in sailboats for steering the ship. The large sailboats manage the rudder using a wheel and small boats use a steering technique.


It is the antonym of jibing and it is the basic term used in sailboats to turn the bow off the boat with the help of wind. This is done as the wind changes from one direction to another of the boat and again to the opposite side. Thus, the boom of the sailboat moves from one side to another when operating a jibe or a tack.


The antonym of tacking and it means to turn the stern of the sailboat using the wind.

Thus, these are some of the common terms used in sailboats and if you are inclined to learn sailing, you should have good knowledge about these common terms as it helps you to learn sailing more effectively and understand how it works.