Are you confused by nautical jargon? Do they leave you 'all at sea'?
For instance, what is baggywrinkle for, when would you need a martingale, and what on earth does widdershins mean?
Perhaps you're a rugged old seadog who knows them all, but if not this glossary of seafaring jargon should ease your confusion...
Mercator Projection ~ A method of representing the curved surface of the globe on a flat surface in such a way that accurate distances can be scaled off it.
Meridian ~ A north/south line running through any point on the globe.
Midships/amidships ~ The central area of a vessel.
Mizzen ~ The stern-most sail set on a yawl or ketch. Read more about sails...
MOB ~ A piece of nautical jargon seen on emergency buttons on electronic navigational equipment, an acronym for ‘Man Overboard!’ - a shout that no skipper ever wants to hear.
Motorsailer ~ A motorboat in which the primary propulsion is through the engine and where the sails provide a extra drive in favourable conditions.
Mouse ~ To bind a thin line around a shackle pin to prevent it from shaking loose.
Nautical ~ Anything to do with seafaring or the sea.
Nautical Almanac ~ An almanac containing data for navigation on the sea.
Nautical Mile ~ The distance along 1 minute of arc measured at the Equator, equivalent to 6,076 feet or 1852m.
Navel Pipe ~ A metal pipe in the foredeck through which the anchor chain is routed to the chain locker.
Neap Tides ~ Or simply 'neaps'. The lesser tide experienced every two weeks when the sun and moon are pulling against one another at half-moon as shown in the lower pic.
Spring tides occur when all three orbs - sun, moon and earth and their combined gravitational fields are all pulling in the same direction
Noon Sight ~ A sextant sight on the sun at local noon from which a boat's position line can be drawn on the chart.
Off the wind ~ To sail downwind. Read more about tradewinds sailing...
Offing ~ At a distance from the shore, but still within sight of land.
Offshore ~ Away from land.
On the wind ~ To sail up wind, close-hauled
On the bow ~ Within 45° either side of the bow
On the beam ~ At 90° to the centreline of the boat
On the quarter ~ Within 45° either side of the stern
Outboard ~ (1) Outside the boat’s hull, or (2) the motor that drives the boat's tender.
Outhaul ~ A line or tackle often running inside the boom used to tension the foot of a mainsail.
Overboard ~ Over the side, as in ‘man overboard!’
Pad eye ~ A strongpoint on deck or in the cockpit, often used for securing jackstays and safety harnesses to.
Painter ~ The line that attaches your tender to your boat, or some other point ashore.
Parachute Anchor ~ A sea anchor intended to minimise a boat's drift and hold it head to wind.
Not to be confused with a drogue which is towed from the stern, intended to slow the boat down but with sufficient way on to maintain steerage.
Passarelle ~ A gangplank for small boats.
These can be as simple as a wooden plank - often lashed to the sidedeck stanchions until needed - or fancy foldaway version with a handrail like the one shown here.
Pay off ~ Nautical jargon meaning to turn the bow away from the wind.
Pay Out ~ To gradually let a rope out.
Pinch, to ~ To sail so close to the wind that the sails lose their drive, even though they may still be drawing.
Pitch ~ The angle of attack of a boat's propellor blades.
Pitching ~ Fore-and-aft rocking motion.
Pitchpole ~ A form of capsize end-over-end or perhaps a little diagonally.
Pivot Point ~ The point around which a boat swivels when it is steered.
Planing ~ A boat travelling at speed,
so that the hull is skimming over the surface of the water rather than plodding
through it. Read more about hull speed...
Plot ~ To mark a boat’s position a nautical chart.
Pointing ~ Sailing as close to the wind as possible. A boat that 'points high' will sail closer than one that 'points low'.
Pontoon ~ A floating dock to which boats can be moored.
Pooped, to be ~ If the sea breaks over the stern and into the cockpit, the boat is pooped - and the helmsman is usually very wet!