How to be a Convincing Sailor

sailing holidays yacht charter Zizoo

Learn your port from your starboard and put on that captain’s hat – we’re going sailing.


Many of our customers are first-time sailors, so we like to prepare them as much as we can.

Sailing holidays are an incredible experience.

You’ll see and do things you would never have had the chance to experience when staying at a hotel. Waking up to a gorgeous orange sunrise and diving into crystal clear water is definitely our preference to a buzzing alarm clock and a stinky hotel room.

However, it’s not all lazing on deck with a cocktail in hand. Sailing requires some effort and attention.

If you’re sailing with a skipper, they will do most of the work for you, but they will always encourage you to participate.

If you’re sailing on your own, however, with an experienced captain and an unexperienced crew, it’s useful to know the basic names for everything on the boat, and to AT LEAST be able to look the part.

Firstly, this means getting your nautical style right. Take advice from our old friend Captain Zizoo, who is here to ensure you’re dressed appropriately for your next sailing holiday.

Set sail like a typical sailor!

the 8 myths about sailors infographic

And secondly, check out our ultimate guide to all your need-to-know nautical terms…

  • Anchor – the piece of equipment that is connected to the boat by a rope or chain and is thrown into the water to secure the boat to the bottom of the sea
  • Anchorage – a protected harbour or location to anchor the boat for the night
  • Beaufort scale – an observation technique used to assess the strength of the wind in relation to the conditions at sea or on land
  • Below deck – down below, where the cabins and galley are
  • Bitter end – the inboard end of a chain, rope or cable, especially an end that is wound around something
  • Block and tackle – a pulley system, usually with a rope and cable, used to lift heavy loads
  • Bollard – a short post on a wharf or boat used to secure the lines from the boat
  • Buoy – a plastic floating object that is anchored to the seafloor
  • Capstan – an upright device for winding in heavy ropes or cables
  • Catamaran – a two-hull boat
  • Chart – a navigation map
  • Cockpit – the wider section of the boat where the captain can control the boat from
  • Course – the direction the boat moves through the water
  • Crosstrees – horizontal crosspieces at a masthead used to support the ship’s mast
  • Dinghy – a small, usually inflatable boat
  • Fender – the large plastic tubes hanging off the side of the boat to protect it against moorings and other boats
  • Flare – a signal that can be shot into the sky in emergencies
  • Galley – the kitchen
  • Gennaker – an asymmetric sail, a cross between a genoa and a spinnaker
  • Genoa – the large jib (sail) at the front of the boat, that overlaps the mainsail
  • Helm – the steering wheel of the boat
  • Jib – a small triangular sail extending from the head of the foremast
  • Jibe – to turn the stern of the boat through the wind
  • Keel – a fixed weight to the hull of the sailing boat that helps raise the boat
  • Knot – a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour
  • Leeway – a lateral force
  • Luff – the windward side of a ship; the forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail
  • Mainmast – fairly self explanatory – the ship’s main mast, which carries the sails and rigging
  • Mainsail – the largest sail, set by the stern
  • Mainsheet –  the rope by which the mainsail is trimmed and secured
  • Outboard – the motor that is attached to the dinghy
  • Port – the left side of the boat when facing forward
  • Priority rules – an international set of rules intended to ensure safe navigation of boats
  • Reefing – reducing the area of the sail, by folding or rolling one edge of the canvas
  • Rig – the nautical term for ‘mast and sails’
  • Rowing – a part of the boat control system, at the rear in the water, that can direct the boat
  • Running rig – all lines that are used to operate the sails
  • Saloon – a large comfortable space in the boat, where the crew is often sleeping
  • Seacock – a valve in the body of the boat, used for water connection, the engine cooling system, the toilet, etc.
  • Spinnaker – a large symmetrical sail that is used when the wind blows from behind
  • Starboard – the right side of the boat when looking forward
  • Stern – the rear part of the boat
  • Stopper – a part to stop a rope or to keep them in a certain position
  • Tack – to change course by turning a boat’s head into and through the wind
  • Tide – the vertical variation of the water level, as a result of gravity and attraction of the moon and sun
  • Tidal flow – the horizontal movement of water as a result of the tide
  • Upwind – in a direction from which the wind blows
  • Vang – a rope extending from the peak of a gaff to the ship’s rail or to mast, used to steady the gaff
  • Winch – a mechanism used to loosen and tighten the lines that are attached to the sails
  • Windlass – a special type of winch used to hoist anchors and mooring lines


Think you’re ready? We think so, too.

Check out these massive end-of-summer discounts and escape now!



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