Rigging Small Sailboats


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BACKSTAY -The wire that supports the mast from the aft side, running from the masthead to the aft end of the boat.
BATTENS-Thin semi-rigid strips of wood or synthetic material inserted into pockets in the sail in order to maintain the shape of the sail.
BATTEN POCKETS-Pockets sewn in the sail that receive the battens.
BECKET-A fitting on a block for splicing or tying off the end of a line, or to receive a fitting.
BELAY, TO-To belay means to stop and secure a line so it won't move.
BEND, TO-To bend is to fasten something; specifically, to fasten or attach the sails to the spars and rigging.
BLOCK-A wood, metal, or synthetic casing containing one or more pulleys or sheaves.
BOLT ROPE-A length of rope sewn along the length of the luff, and sometimes the foot of a sail, for fitting it into the groove of the spars.
BOOM-The pivoting horizontal "pole" attached to the aft side of the mast to control the foot of the sail.
BOOM BAIL-A "U"-shaped strap wrapped around the lower portion of the boom to which fittings can be attached.
BOOM CRUTCH-A vertical support to hold up the boom when the sails are furled or when hoisting the mainsail in order to keep the boom in position.
BOOM VANG-A tackle used to pull the boom down in order to control the shape of the sail and movement of the boom.
BRIDLE-A line secured at each end with attachment or control taken at the middle.
BRUMMEL HOOK-A patented hook used in pairs to join or connect two objects, usually lines to other lines or to sails.
BULLET BLOCK-A small block with a single sheave and no shackle.

CAM CLEAT-A fitting used to belay a line utilizing two pivoting serrated cams that allow for immediate adjustment.
CAT RIG-A sail rig with a single mast well forward and a single sail attached to the aft side of the mast.
CENTERBOARD-A vertical plate sticking out the bottom of the boat that pivots up and down about the centerboard pin.
CENTERBOARD PENNANT-The line used to raise and lower the centerboard.
CENTERBOARD PIN-A bolt or rod that secures the centerboard to the centerboard trunk and allows the board to pivot up and down.
CENTERBOARD TRUNK-The casing in boat that houses the centerboard.
CHAINPLATE-Metal strap connected to the hull to which the shrouds are attached in order to distribute the strains set up in the rigging to the boat.
CHAINPLATE COVER-A plate used to cap the area of the deck where the top of the chainplate protrudes.
CHEEK BLOCK-A block with a base that is fastened to a surface, such as a deck. The sheave of the block is usually parallel with this base.
CLEAT-A fitting to which a line can be belayed.
CLEW-The lower aft corner of the sail, usually fitted with a cringle for the outhaul.
CLEW OUTHAUL-Any device or fitting used to adjust and secure the clew of the mainsail. Sometimes referred to as the "boom outhaul".
CLEVIS PIN-A pin used to close the opening of a shackle or clevis.
CRINGLE-A metal ring or grommet around a hole in the sail for reinforcement.
CUNNINGHAM-A line device or cringle located several inches above the tack of the sail and used with a downhaul to control the tension along the luff and hence the shape of the sail. Primarily used in competition craft.

DAGGERBOARD-A vertical plate that sticks out the bottom of the boat by sliding up and down within the daggerboard trunk.
DAGGERBOARD TRUNK-The case or the housing in the boat for the daggerboard.
DEADEYE-An eye fitting which secures the "deadend" (knotted or spliced) or standing end of a line.
DIAMOND SPREADER; STAY-An intermediate spreader and stay arrangement to reinforce the mast, with the configuration forming a "diamond" shape. The stays do not attach to the boat, only to the mast.
DOWNHAUL-Any line designed to haul down something, for example the downhaul used to pull down on the gooseneck when on a slide, or a "Cunningham".

EYE STRAP-A metal strap fitting shaped to form an "eye" which can be used to secure a fitting or line.

FAIRLEAD-Any fitting used to guide or change direction of a line, giving it a "fair lead" in its travel. Fairleads pre vent chafing as well.
FIDDLE BLOCK-A block with two sheaves, one above the other, one usually being smaller than the other. It resembles a "fiddle".
FOOT-The lower portion of the sail.
FORESTAY-The wire that supports the mast from the forward side, running from the top or near the top of the mast to the forward point of the hull. Also used to support the luff of the jib on sloop rigs.

GENOA ("jenny")-A large oversize jib sail that overlaps the mainsail.
GOOSENECK-The fitting used to attach the boom to the mast and which permits the boom to pivot, usually by a universal joint-type action. The gooseneck can also be used to secure the tack of the sail.
GUDGEONS-Eye fittings used on the aft end of the boat (or sometimes on the rudder) to receive the pintles in order for the rudder to pivot.

HALYARDS-The lines used to raise and lower the sails. External halyards are located outside the mast; internal halyards pass through the inside of a hollow mast.
HALYARD HOOK-A restraining fitting used with wire rope halyards that have ball joint fittings in order to lock and belay the ball joint at a predetermined position.
HANKS-Clip or snap fittings sewn into the luff of the jib for attaching the sail to the stay.
HEAD-The top corner of the sail.
HEADBOARD-The reinforcing member sewn into the sail at the head, usually fitted with a cringle.
HEAD SAIL-Any sail forward of the mast, such as the jib.
HOUND-A wraparound strap-type mast fitting used to secure stays and other fittings to the mast.
HYFIELD LEVER-A lever actuator with scissors action for adjusting tension on stays, halyards, etc. Usually used with competition craft.

INSIGNIA-The decal or emblem sewn into the sail to graphically portray the class or design of a boat. Sometimes in combination with a number which identifies the registry of the particular boat in the class organization.

JAM CLEAT-Any cleat into which a line can be "jammed" in order to belay it, as opposed to a cleat, which must have the line "turned" or wrapped around it.
JIB-The sail located forward of the mast. Sometimes called the "headsail".
JIB HALYARD BLOCK-A block used on jibhead rigs to change direction of the jib halyard near the head of the jib when it is raised.
JIBHEAD RIG-A sloop rig where the forestay does not reach to the masthead.
JIB SHEET-The line used to control the jib.
JUMPER STAY; STRUT-An arrangement used on jibhead rigs to reinforce the forward side of the mast at the top. The stay does not attach to the boat only to the mast.


LATEEN RIG, SAIL-A sail rig with an unsupported mast, usually short, with a triangular shaped sail attached to one or two "booms". The upper boom is usually called a "yard". The sail is not attached to the mast.
LEECH-The aft portion of the sail.
LEEWARD-Pronounced "loo-erd". Downwind, or away from the direction which the wind is coming.
LINE-A length of rope or wire rope performing some function in the boat.
LOOSE FOOTED-A mainsail attached to the spars only at the tack and clew in the foot portion so that the foot can form freely to the wind.
LUFF-The forward portion of the sail.

MAINSAIL-The "main sail" on the boat, or one located on the aft side of the mast.
MAINSHEET-The line used to control the mainsail, indirectly through controlling the boom position.
MAST-The vertical spar used to support the sails.
MASTHEAD-The top of the mast.
MASTHEAD RIG-A sloop rig where the forestay reaches to the masthead.
MAST RAKE-The angle the mast makes from vertical when viewed in profile. A mast set exactly vertical has no rake.
MAST STEP-The fitting or receptacle that receives the base of the mast to secure it in position.

NICOPRESS-A patented method used to form an eye splice in wire rope by the use of special clamping devices.

PAD EYE-An eye fitting with a substantial base used to secure fittings such as blocks to the deck or cabin top.
PINTLES-The "pins" attached to the rudder (or sometimes to the boat), which fit into the gudgeons thereby allowing the rudder to pivot.

REEVE, TO-To reeve is to pass a line through any aperture such as a block or eye. The past tense is ROVE.
RIG-The configuration of the spars and sails of a boat.
RIG, TO-To put the spars and related equipment in position so the boat is ready for sailing.
RIGGING-Equipment used to support the spars and manipulate the sails.
ROLLER REEFING-Equipment that allows the boom to roll thereby furling the sail onto the boom and reducing sail area, especially in heavy weather. Reefing means to decrease sail area by folding or furling the sail.
ROACH-The up and outward curve in the leech of the sail.
ROPE-Generally, any stranded or braided cordage.
RUDDER-Device that steers the boat.
RUDDER STOP-Device that prevents the rudder from floating up and out of secure it in position.
RUNNING RIGGING-The lines that literally "run" or move about the boat for use in hoisting, lowering, and controlling the sails.

SHACKLE-A "U"-shaped link with openable pin for connecting or attaching various components.
SHEAVE-Pronounced "shiv". A grooved wheel or pulley with axle, used for example in a block, to prevent line wear and to change direction of the line.
SHEAVE BOX-A fitting with a sheave used at the exit point on a spar where internal halyards pass through.
SHEET-A line used to control directly or indirectly the trim of a sail.
SHEET LOAD-The direction the line used for the sheets takes.
SHROUDS-The stays that support the mast at the sides.
SLOOP-A single masted sailboat with at least one sail forward of the mast, and one sail aft of the mast.
SNUBBING WINCH-A small winch with no handle used to control a sheet.
SPAR-A general term for any mast, boom, or other "pole" used to spread out the sails. SPINNAKER ("chute")-The big parachute-shaped sail located forward of the mast used mostly on competition boats on courses before the wind.
SPREADERS-Cross members jutting out sideways from the mast to "spread out" the shrouds in order to reinforce the mast.
STANDING RIGGING-The fixed wires and ropes that "stand" or stay in position at all times when the mast is stepped. The standing rigging consists of all the stays.
STAYS-The wires that support the mast and spars.
STAY ADJUSTER-A fitting which both connects the stay to the boat and allows the length of the stay to be adjusted. It is different from a turnbuckle in that the adjustment mechanism consists of a series of holes with a clevis pin.
STEP, TO-To step the mast means to put the mast in position on the boat.
STEMHEAD-Literally the head of the boat at the stem, or the farthest forward point on deck. Generally considered the point where the forestay attaches to the hull.
SWAGE-To press a fitting onto wire rope by the use of cold dies in pairs.
SWIVEL DECK BLOCK-A block with a base for deck mounting and which allows the block to swivel to any position and stand vertical in use.

TACK-The lower forward corner of the sail usually fitted with a cringle. Also means sailing a zigzag course.
TACKLE-A system of blocks and rope arranged to decrease the effort required to move a load or object.
TANGS-Fittings used to secure stays to the mast.
THIMBLE-A teardrop-shaped grooved ring in a looped or spliced eye to prevent chafe and wear in the eye.
TILLER-The handle used to control the rudder.
TILLER EXTENSION-An additional handle connected to the forward end of the tiller by a pivot or universal-type fitting so the helmsman can control the rudder when hiking outboard on a tack.
TOGGLE-A universal swivel connector used to reduce bending at the jaws or forks of swaged fittings on wire rope, such as with stays.
TRACK-A formed metal or plastic rail used to carry fittings or to allow them to move.
TRACK SLIDE-A fitting designed to slide along a track and often to which other fittings are attached, or which may be connected to a sail for use in hoisting.
TRAVELER-A line or fitting which allows the mainsheet tackle to travel or move from one side of the boat to the other.
TRAVELER BLOCK-A block with two sheaves and no shackle, one sheave above the other and at right angles to each other, for use with rope travelers.
TURNBUCKLES-A fitting that connects the stay to the boat and allows adjustment by means of screw threaded barrels.

WHIPPING-The binding agent or method used on the end of a piece of rope to prevent fraying and unraveling.
WINCH-A mechanical revolving drum appliance used to gain power in hauling or pulling in a line.
WINDWARD-Toward the direction from which the wind is blowing.
WIRE ROPE-Rope made from twisted strands of iron or steel.
WORKING SAILS-The sails used under normal sailing conditions, usually consisting of the mainsail and the regular or working jib on a sloop rig.

YACHT BRAID-Special braided rope that is easy on the hands and resistant to kinks and jamming.

The End