Friday, October 07, 2005

Bang the Corner!

During a recent regatta we had a few first time sailors aboard who just couldn't wrap their heads around why we insisted on shouting out colourful phrases such as "more boom vang" or "I need outhaul, and cunningham....trim the jib, douse the spinnaker...not that halyard the jib halyard...bang the corner" instead of referring to things like normal people would like "pull the rope over the blue and white one next the the silver thingy"

I put myself in their position, new on a boat, and to sailing...and quickly realized how overwhelming it is when you have no idea what all the ropes and things are and what they do. Gradually the language becomes second nature. Here are a few colourful terms that might be useful during a race.

To sail all the way to one side of a race course in search of a strategic advantage.

Running backstay or checkstay block positioned so that it could hit the head of an inattentive member of the afterguard when not under load. Definitely a reference to former Cup winner Bill Koch and an unfortunate turn of events.

The ability to maintain speed to windward and behind a competitor while just on the edge of bad air.

A spinnaker douse in which the boat jibes, but the spinnaker is left flying on the new windward side, where it collapses against the jib as it is pulled down.

Hormone responsible for propensity to file protests.

For a more comprehensive list visit the Seattle Yacht Club and the article by Susan Kruller "Inside the SYC America?s Cup Challenge - What's In A Word? under "America?s Cup Sailing Jargon ? A Primer".


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