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Cabin
A room inside a boat.
  
Cam Cleat
A mechanical cleat used to hold a line automatically. It uses two spring loaded cams that come together to clamp their teeth on the line, which is place between them. Also see jam cleat.
  
Camber
The curvature of an object such as a sail, keel or deck. Usually used when referring to an objects aerodynamic or hydrodynamic properties.
  
Can Buoy
A cylindrical buoy painted green and having an odd number used in the United States as a navigational aid. At night they may have a green light. Green buoys should be kept on the left side when returning from a larger body of water to a smaller one. Nun buoys mark the other side of the channel. Also see green and red daymarks
  
Canal
A manmade waterway used to connect bodies of water that do not connect naturally. Canals use locks to raise and lower boats when connecting bodies of water that have different water levels. The Panama and Suez canals are two of the most famous.
  
Canoe Stern
A pointed stern, such as those on a canoe.
  
Canvas
Tightely woven cloth used for sails, covers, dodgers and biminis. Typically made from cotton, hemp or linen. Modern sails are made out of synthetic materials generally known as sailcloth.
  
Capsize
When a boat falls over in the water so that is no longer right side up.
  
Capstan
A rotating drum used to haul heavy lines and chains. Similar to a winch, but mounted vertically.
  
Captain
The person who is in charge of a vessel and legally responsible for it and its occupants.
  
Car
A sliding fitting that attaches to a track allowing for the adjustment of blocks or other devices attached to the car.
  
Carbon Fiber
A synthetic material consisting of fibers glued together with epoxy that is very strong for its weight.
  
Cardinal Points
The points of North, South, East and West as marked on a compass rose.
  
Carlins
Structural pieces running fore and aft between the beams.
  
Carrick Bend
A knot used to tie two lines together.
  
Cast Off
To detach mooring lines as when leaving a dock.
  
Catamaran
A twin hulled boat. Catamaran sailboats are known for their ability to plane and are faster than single hulled boats (monohulls) in some conditions.
  
Catboat
A sailboat rigged with one mast and one sail.
  
Catenary
The sag in a line strung between two points.
  
Caulking
Material used to seal the seams in a wooden vessel, making it watertight.
  
Cavitate, Cavitation
A type of drag on a propeller caused by air bubbles forming near the tips of a propeller that is spinning too fast. This causes inefficiencies and unnecessary wear and tear on the propeller.
  
Celestial Navigation
A method of using the stars, sun and moon to determine one's position. Position is determined by measuring the apparent altitude of one of these objects above the horizon using a sextant and recording the times of these sightings with an accurate clock. That information is then used with tables in the Nautical Almanac to determine one's position.
  
Celestial Sphere
An imaginary sphere surrounding the globe that contains the sun, moon, stars and planets.
  
Center Line
The imaginary line running from bow to stern along the middle of the boat.
  
Centerboard
A device similar to a keel, except that it is usually either removable or can pivot. Also see daggerboard. The centerboard is used like a keel to reduce the unwanted sideways motion of a boat.
  
Certificate
A legal paper or license of a boat or its captain.
  
Chafe
Wear caused by the friction of parts moving past each other.
  
Chafing Gear
Tape, cloth or other materials placed on one or more parts that rub together. By using chafing gear, hopefully the chafing gear will wear rather than the parts that it is protecting.
  
Chain
Metal links that are locked together to make a strong and flexible line. Chains are typically used for anchors and other places where high loads may be exerted on the line, particularly in large vessels.
  
Chain Locker
Storage for the anchor chain.
  
Chainplates
Plates on the deck to which lines and stays are attached.
  
Chandlery
A store that sells nautical gear.
  
Channel
A navigable route on a waterway, usually marked by buoys. Channels are similar to roads where the water is known to be deep enough for ships or boats to sail without running aground.
  
Channel Marker
A buoy or other mark used to mark a navigable path through a waterway.
  
Chart
Maps for boaters are known as charts. Charts are usually issued by government agencies and include information on channels, navigational aids, water depth and hazards.
  
Chart Datum
The water level used to record data on a chart. Usually the average low tide water level.
  
Chart Table
A table designated as the area in the boat where the navigator will study charts and plot courses.
  
Cheek Block
A block with one end permanently attached to a surface.
  
Chine
The location where the deck joins the hull of the boat.
  
Chock
A fitting that a line can pass through and be controlled.
  
Chockablock
When a line is pulled as tight as is can go, as when two blocks are pulled together.
  
Chop
Small, steep disorderly waves.
  
Chronometer
An accurate clock that is used for navigation.
  
Classes
Groups of boats organized for racing. Boats compete against others in the same class, assuming that their performance will be similar.
  
Cleat
A fitting to which lines can be easily attached.
  
Cleat Hitch
A figure eight pattern used to tie a line to a cleat.
  
Clevis Pin
A metal pin used to attach fittings to each other or their mounts.
  
Clew
The lower aft corner of a sail.
  
Close Hauled
Sailing with the sails hauled tight, sailing the boat towards the wind as much as possible.
  
Close Reach
Sailing with the wind coming from the direction forward of the beam of the boat. A close reach is the point of sail between a beam reach and close hauled.
  
Close Up
A flag hoisted to the top of a flagpole. Also see at the dip.
  
Close Winded
A boat that is able to sail well into the wind.
  
Clove Hitch
A type of knot typically used when mooring. It is easily adjustable, but it may work loose.
  
Club
A boom on a jib or staysail.
  
Club Footed
A jib or staysail that utilizes a small boom.
  
Cng
Compressed natural gas. A type of compressed gas used as fuel for stoves and heaters. CNG is stored in metal cylinders prior to use. CNG is considered safer than other types of fuel such as propane (LPG) because it is lighter than air and may rise into the sky in the event of a leak. Caution should still be used as CNG can collect near the cabin ceiling, potentially causing an explosion. Propane is available in more areas around the world than CNG so CNG is not often used outside of North America.
  
Coaming
A small wall to prevent water from entering the cockpit.
  
Coast
The region of land near the water.
  
Coast Pilots
Books covering information about coastal navigation, including navigational aids, courses, distances, anchorages and harbors.
  
Coastal Navigation
Navigating near the coast, allowing one to find one's position by use of landmarks and other references.
  
Cock
A valve used to regulate the flow of water or gas.
  
Cockpit
The location from which the boat is steered, usually in the middle or the rear of the boat.
  
Cockpit Sole
Sole (floor) of the cockpit.
  
Code
Any method of passing messages, such as visual or electronic morse code, code flag pennants and semaphore.
  
Cold Front
Used in meteorology to describe a mass of cold air moving toward a mass of warm air. Strong winds and rain typically accompany a cold front.
  
Cold Molding
A method of bending a material into an appropriate shape without heating or steaming to soften the material first.
  
Collision Bulkhead
A watertight forward bulkhead designed to keep the boat from sinking in the event of a collision.
  
Colors
The national flag and or other flags.
  
Colregs
A term for the international rules designed to prevent collisions between boats.
  
Come About
To tack. To change a boat's direction, bringing the bow through the eye of the wind.
  
Companionway
The entryway into the cabin from the deck.
  
Compass
(1) An instrument that uses the earth's magnetic field to point to the direction of the magnetic north pole. (2) A device used to draw circles.
  
Compass Card
A card labeling the 360 of the circle and the named directions such as north, south, east and west.
  
Compass Course
The course as read on a compass. The compass course has added the magnetic deviation and the magnetic variation to the true course.
  
Compass Error
Magnetic deviation. The difference between the reading of a compass and the actual magnetic course or bearing due to errors in the compass reading. These errors can be caused by metals, magnetic fields and electrical fields near the compass. Prior to using a compass, magnetic deviation should be recorded for many different points on the compass as the error can be different at different points. The act of checking for magnetic deviation is called swinging.
  
Compass Rose
A circle on a chart indicating the direction of geographic north and sometimes also magnetic north. Charts usually have more that one compass rose. In that case the compass rose nearest to the object being plotted should be used as the geographic directions and magnetic variations may change slightly in different places on the chart.
  
Composite Construction
An object made with more than one type of material.
  
Compressed Natural Gas
CNG for short. A type of compressed gas used as fuel for stoves and heaters. CNG is stored in metal cylinders prior to use. CNG is considered safer than other types of fuel such as propane (LPG) because it is lighter than air and may rise into the sky in the event of a leak. Caution should still be used as CNG can collect near the cabin ceiling, potentially causing an explosion. Propane is available in more areas around the world than CNG so CNG is not often used outside of North America.
  
Continent
A large land mass, such as Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.
  
Continental Shelf
A region of relatively shallow water surrounding each of the continents.
  
Coordinated Universal Time
A time standard that is not affected by time zones or seasons. Time measured in coordinated universal time labeled with the term zulu. It is used so that people around the world can communicate about time without regard to individual time zones.
  
Cordage
Any rope or line.
  
Cotter Pin
A small metal pin used to keep other parts from changing their position, such as to keep a nut from turning or a clevis pin from falling out.
  
Counter
The part of the stern aft of where it leaves the waterline.
  
Course
(1) The direction the boat is traveling or intends to travel. (2) A path which racing boats are to follow.
  
Courtesy Flag
A smaller version of the flag of the country being visited. It is flown from the starboard spreader.
  
Cove
A small sheltered recessed area in the shoreline.
  
Cowls
Scoop like devices used to direct air into a boat.
  
Cqr Anchor
Also called a plow anchor. Short for coastal quick release anchor. An anchor that is designed to bury itself into the ground by use of its plow shape.
  
Cradle
A frame to support a vessel when out of water.
  
Crest
(1) The top of a wave. (2) The act of reaching the top of a wave.
  
Crew
One or more people that aid in the operation of a sailboat.
  
Cringle
A fitting in a sail that allows a line to fasten to it.
  
Crossing Situation
When two vessels approach each other and their paths are crossing. The boat with the other boat on its starboard side is the give way vessel and must yield.
  
Crosstrees
Spreaders. Small spars extending toward the sides from one or more places along the mast. The shrouds cross the end of the spreaders, enabling the shrouds to better support the mast.
  
Cruising Guides
Books that describe features of particular sailing areas, such as hazards, anchorages, etc.
  
Cunningham
A line used to control the tension along a sail's luff in order to maintain proper sail shape.
  
Current
The movement of water, due to tides, river movement and circular currents caused by the motion of the earth.
  
Cutter
A sailboat with one mast and rigged a mainsail and two headsails. Also see sloop.
  
Cutwater
The front edge of the boat.
  
Woodside Bottom
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