Some parts of a sailboat are very small and cheap, but are far from insignificant. Take the humble clevis pin for example; find one of these on the foredeck and you've cause to be concerned for the security of your rig!
If we were going to discuss all the parts of a sailboat here, it would be a very long article indeed - but relax, that's not going to happen.
Let's make a start with...
Dacron is the usual choice of sailcloth for cruisers although laminated sails are becoming more common, and moulded sails are the first choice for racing sailors.
The standing rigging, generally made up in 1x19 stainless-steel wire, supports the mast.
The forestay and backstay secure the mast in the fore-and-aft plane, and the shrouds secure it athwartships.
The ends of the stays and shrouds are secured to the structural elements of the hull via chainplates.
The running rigging is the collective name for the lines (halyards, sheets, topping lifts, uphauls, downhauls etc) that control the sails. Their working ends are attached either directly to the sails or, in the case of the headsail, to the boom.
These are the rigid struts, generally fabricated in alloy, wood or carbon fibre whose job it is to deploy the sails. For example:
Like many cruising boats, the Ted Brewer designed Whitby 42 ketch pictured above has a centre-cockpit, which allows for the provision of a sumptuous aft-cabin below. Nevertheless, aft-cockpit boats have a great following with seasoned cruisers too. So what the aft versus centre-cockpit pro's and con's?
Smaller boats tend to be tiller-steered while larger ones, as in the image above, have wheels. Tillers are attached directly to the rudder stock; wheels are located remotely and operate the tiller through chain or hydraulic linkage.
Each approach has their devotees, but what are the arguments for and against?
Keels provide three key attributes in varying amounts depending on their design: directional stability, ballast, and lift to windward.
Rudders provide steerage and a small contribution towards lift to windward. They are either:
Driven by the boat's diesel engine, the propeller allows good progress to be made when the wind is not cooperating.
Under sail though the propeller is redundant and the fixed blades provide nothing but unwanted drag. This is greatly reduced if the blades can fold aft in a clamshell arrangement or feather in self-alignment with the water flow.
Sailboat propellers are either 2 or 3-bladed - and you can read more about them here...
There's no 'standard' layout for the below-decks accommodation on a sailboat, although the one shown above is a popular choice.
Some layouts work well for offshore sailing whereas others are much less suitable - here's why some succeed where others fail...