Saturday, February 12, 2011

Basic Lesson... Parts of the Boat , chapter 1


Learning to sail requires learning a new language.


It is romantic to consider 'the language of the sea' but it is practical to realize that -all- specialized fields such as medicine or engineering also have their terminology. A person could not get far as a doctor if they said "those air-thingies" instead of "lungs" (or better yet, referred to pulmonology)... and you will not be able to sail very well if you don't understand what the other sailors are talking about.

You already know some nautical terminology (link). In the same way, and for the same reasons, computer terms are becoming a common part of the language nowadays.

And when we think about computers, we generally do not think about all the parts at once, as seperate items. It is much easier & sensible to think of components & systems & subsystems... the video card, the main bus, the power supply... each of these is made up of smaller parts within it, and we identify these smaller parts both by their function and which system they fit in.

It helps to do the same with sailboats. We can easily divide the sailboat (any sailboat) into two major systems: the HULL and the RIG. It is so obvious that you can see even small children do it.


The Hull: it's purpose is to keep everything afloat (duh). Some people think of it as the "body" of the boat. We could use a big waterproof box as a hull, but it works better if it shaped to move thru the water easily... so it has a pointy end. It also works better if it has the shape and the width to have stability (more on stability in the advanced section).


The HULL has a few basic parts we need to know: the BOW (rhymes with "wow") or front, the STERN or back, the GUNWHALES (pronounced "gunnels") which are the outer edges all around, the DECK, the TRANSOM (which is the flat section across the very aft-most part), and the THWART which is a cross-piece inside the hull.


Basic sailors will also need to know the CENTERBOARD, the RUDDER, and the TILLER although these might not technically be parts of the hull, that is the overall system they function with.

When learning the names of these boat parts, keep in mind their location within the boat, and also their function. For example, the GUNWHALE (rhymes with "funnel") is sort of like a rim around the hull, it is a structural part which increases the strength of the hull, and it has a rubber strip which protects the hull from smacking into things like another boat or a dock.

(link) Next Lesson on Boat Parts & Terminology

... posted by Assistant Coach Douglas King

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