The task of becoming sea-worthy

Lines, Cables and Spars, oh my…


Lines, Spars & Cables – Rigging

Mast – the main and highest spar in the center of the boat.  The mainsail and jib are attached to this.

Boom – the horizontal pole or spar that extends back, or aft off the bottom of the mast, where the foot of the mainsail is hooked.

Standing rigging – supports the mast.

sailboat rigging diagram

Sailboat Rigging

A. forestay – line or cable that supports the mast from the bow of the boat.

B. backstay – line or cable that supports the mast from the stern of the boat.

C. sidestay or shroud – line or cable that supports the mast giving lateral stability.  There are usually at least 2, one on either side of boat.

D.  spreaders – horizontal spars which spread the shrouds from the mast.

E. boom topping lift – a line that extends from the boom to the mast.  Supports the boom when the mailsail is taken down.

Running rigging – lines that control, raise, lower and adjust the sails.

A.  halyard – line used to raise the sail and control luff tension.  main halyard & jib halyard.

B.  sheet – main line that is used to adjust the sail against the force of the wind.  The mainsail has one sheet.  The jib has two sheets; a working  or leeward sheet and a lazy or windward sheet.  Angle of attack with respect to the apparent wind and/or the amount of leech “twist” near the head of the sail.

C.  boom vang – line that places leech or downward tension on the boom.

D.  outhaul – puts backward tension on the clew of the mainsail.  When tightened it flattens the lower one-third of the mainsail.

E.  reefing line – a line used to shorten the sail.

F.  cunninghams – tighten the luff of a boom-footed sail by pulling downward at the point on the boom closest to the mast.

G.  guys – control spar angle with respect to the apparent wind.

Winch – device used to tighten a line.

Chain plate – metal plate that a shroud is attached to.

Cleat – metal or plastic device used to secure a line.  There are many types: cam, horn and clam cleats.

sailboat-parts diagram 2

Sailboat Parts


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