Sailing Tips: Boats Explained

... let us tell you the story of a sailing boat


When approaching a sailing yacht, you will notice its basic shapes and curves, front and back, a big pole in the middle, etc. So let’s start with those basic parts of the sailing yacht. In Mediterranean countries, yachts will mostly be docked with their back part to the shore or peer. That back part of the yacht is called a stern. Yachts have a little bridge on the stern which help you enter from the peer, and that bridge is called passarella in sailor slang.


On a sailing yacht, you will find the steering wheel on the stern of the yacht, and the correct sailing term for the wheel is a helm. Grab the helm and face forward toward the front of the sailing yacht. The front part of the sailing yacht is a bow, the right side is starboard side, and the left side is port side. The area in front, around and behind of the helm is a cockpit - it is an area where you can relax, eat, and have fun with your skipper.


While sailing, a cockpit area is turned into workspace for sailors. The big pole that raises over the sailing yacht is a mast and the other pole that is connected under 90 degrees to the mast is a boom. It is called the boom since it can hit you in the head in some conditions, and at that point you will just hear a “boom”, so you need to always be careful while sailing.

Sailing Yacht

While you are still at the helm, right in front of you or on your sides you will find round devices around which ropes are wrapped. These devices are called winches and are used to lift sails and all kind of heavy objects.


Once you enter the sailing yacht interior, you will find yourself in a saloon area. In the saloon, there is a kitchen or a galley with all the appliances you need for cooking. There is also a captain’s desk with navigation charts, all electric switches, tools, and safety equipment.


Further toward the bow, you have sofas for relaxation which can be used as a dining area. In most yachts, those sofas can be combined with a table and be converted into additional berths/beds for your guests.


In the bow area, you will find one, two or even three cabins depending of the size of the yacht. Cabins can have a double bed or bunk beds, so in each case, you can fit two persons per cabin. In the stern of the yacht, there are one or two cabins also depending on the size and yacht conception.


Now when you know basic parts of the sailing yacht, we can leave the port and sail out into the freedom, which one can experience only while sailing the open seas. To lift the sails up, we will be using halyards, ropes which are connected to the sails on one side and to the winches on the other side, enabling us to lift the sails easily. On sailing yachts, there are two main types of sails, a main sail (triangle shape) and a genoa sail (front sail).


In addition to these two main types of sails, you can encounter a spinnaker sail for downwind sailing and a gennaker sail for downwind sailing. The gennaker is used in conditions when the wind is shifting and starting to blow into the port or starboard side of the yacht.

Sailing Yacht

Sailing Yacht

While sailing, the main sail is controlled with a main sheet, which is a rope connected to the main sail and with which we control the tension of the main sail. The front sail genoa is controlled with a jib sheet.


We can sail into the wind - windward, or down the wind - downwind. The sailing yacht can not sail directly into the wind by the laws of physics. Most of commercial sailing yachts can sail the closest of 45 degrees towards the origin of the wind direction.