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Labor
Heavy rolling or pitching while underway.
  
Lacing
A line used to attach a sail to a spar.
  
Laid Up
A boat in a dry dock.
  
Land Breeze
A wind moving from the land to the water due to temperature changes in the evening.
  
Landlocked
Surrounded by land.
  
Landmark
A distinctive reference point that can be used for navigation.
  
Lanyard
A line attached to a tool.
  
Lash
To tie something with a line.
  
Lateral Resistance
The ability of a boat to keep from being moved sideways by the wind. Keels, daggerboards, centerboards, and leeboards are all used to improve a boat's lateral resistance.
  
Latitude
Imaginary lines drawn around the world and used to measure distance north and south of the equator. 90 north is the North Pole and 90 south is the South Pole, and the equator is at 0. Also see longitude.
  
Launch
(1) To put a boat in the water. (2) A small boat used to ferry people to and from a larger vessel.
  
Lay
(1) The position of an item. (2) The direction in which a stranded rope is twisted.
  
Lay Line
An imaginary line on which a sailboat can sail directly to its target without tacking.
  
Lay Up
To prepare a boat for winter storage.
  
Lazarette
A small aft storage space for spare parts and other items.
  
Lazy Guy
A line attached to the boom to prevent it from accidentally jibbing.
  
Lazy Jacks
Lines running from above the main sail to the boom to aid in the lowering of the sail, keeping the sail flaked and off of the deck.
  
Lazy Sheet
A line led to a sail, but is not currently in use. The line currently in use is known as the working sheet. Usually the working and lazy sheets change when the boat is tacked.
  
Lead Line
A line with a weight on the end used to measure depth. The lead is dropped into the water and marks on the line are read to determine the current water depth. The lead usually has a cavity to return a sample of the bottom type (mud, sand, etc.)
  
Leading Lights
Lights that are separated in distance so that when they are lined up with one behind the other they provide a bearing. Usually used to enter a harbor or navigate a channel.
  
Leading Marks
Unlit navigational aids for use during the day. Like leading lights, they mark a bearing to a channel when they are lined up one above the other.
  
League
3 nautical miles.
  
Lee
The direction that the wind is blowing toward. The direction sheltered from the wind.
  
Lee Helm
The tendency, if any, for a sailboat to want to steer away from the direction of the wind. The opposite condition is known as weather helm.
  
Lee Shore
The shore that the wind is blowing toward. It is important to keep distance from the lee shore because the boat will be blown toward it if control of the vessel is lost.
  
Leeboards
(1) Boards projecting into the water from the lee side of a vessel to help keep it from slipping sideways in the water when traveling across the wind, similar in intent to a keel. (2) A board placed on the side of a berth to keep the occupant from falling out.
  
Leech
The aft edge of a fore and aft sail.
  
Leech Line
A line used to tighten the leech of a sail, helping to create proper sail shape.
  
Leecloths
Cloths raised along the side of a berth to keep the occupant from falling out.
  
Leeward
The direction away from the wind. Opposite of windward.
  
Leeway
The sideways movement of a boat away from the wind, usually unwanted. Keels and other devices help prevent a boat from having excessive leeway.
  
Licensed Pilot
A pilot with a license stating that they are qualified to guide vessels in a particular area.
  
Lie
(1) Where an object is. (2) To put an object in place.
  
Life Boat
A small boat used for emergencies such as when the parent boat is sinking.
  
Life Jacket
A device used to keep a person afloat. Also called a life preserver, life vest, PFD or personal floatation device.
  
Life Preserver
A device used to keep a person afloat. Also called a life jacket, life vest, PFD or personal floatation device.
  
Life Raft
An emergency raft used in case of serious problems to the parent vessel, such as sinking.
  
Life Vest
A device used to keep a person afloat. Also called a life jacket, life preserver, PFD or personal floatation device.
  
Lifeline
A line running between the bow and the stern of a boat to which the crew can attach themselves to prevent them from being separated from the boat.
  
Light
A lit navigational aid such as a lighthouse that can be used at night or in poor visibility.
  
Light List
A list of lights arranged in geographical order.
  
Lighthouse
A navigational light placed on a structure on land. The supporting structure was a house in which the person that maintained the light lived. Most modern lighthouses no longer have living areas.
  
Lightship
A light placed on a ship. The ship remained in a fixed position. Most lightships have been replaced by lit buoys or other structures.
  
Lightweight Anchor
Danforth anchor. It has pivoting flukes that dig into the ground as tension is placed on the anchor. It does not have a stock.
  
Limber Hole
A hole in between compartments in the bottom of the boat to allow water to flow into the bilge where it is sent overboard.
  
Line
On a boat most ropes are called lines.
  
Linestoppers
A device used to keep a line from slipping, such as a jam cleat.
  
Liquid Petroleum Gas
LPG or propane for short. Propane is a common fuel used for cooking and heating. CNG (natural gas) is considered safer because propane is heavy than air and will sink into the bilge if it leaks, creating the potential for an explosion. Propane is more easily available throughout the world than CNG however, so it is used for most boats outside of North America.
  
List
A leaning to one side when not underway. Usually the result of an improperly loaded boat. Heeling is different from a list because it is caused by the forces of wind acting upon a sailboat that is underway. When a boat changes tacks, the direction of the heel will change sides, whereas a list is a continual leaning to the same side under any condition.
  
Loa
Length overall. The total length of a boat including bowsprits or other items projecting from the bow or the stern of the boat.
  
Lock
A device that allows boats to pass between bodies of water having different water levels, such as in a canal. A boat enters a lock, then large doors close behind it. The water level is then either raised or lowered until a second set of doors can be opened and the boat can pass through.
  
Locker
Any storage place on a boat. See also chain locker, hanging locker, and wet locker.
  
Log
(1) A device used to measure the distance traveled through the water. The distance read from a log can be affected by currents, leeway and other factors, so those distances are sometimes corrected to a distance made good. Logs can be electronic devices or paddle wheels mounted through the hull of the boat or trailed behind it on a line. (2) A written record of a boat's condition, usually including items such as boat position, boat speed, wind speed and direction, course, and other information.
  
Logbook
A book in which the boat's log is kept. Each entry usually contains the time and date of the entry, weather conditions, boat speed and course, position and other information and observations.
  
Long Splice
A method of splicing two lines of identical thickness by unwrapping strands and braiding the lines back together. Long splices have the advantage of being able to fit through blocks and other devices, but are not as strong as other methods of joining lines.
  
Longitude
Imaginary lines drawn through the north and south poles on the globe used to measure distance east and west. Greenwich England is designated as 0 with other distances being measured in degrees east and west of Greenwich. For example the center of California, USA is approximatly 120 west and the center of Australia is around 135 east. Also see latitude.
  
Lookout
A person designated to watch for other vessels and hazards.
  
Loose Footed
A sail whose foot (bottom) is not attached to a boom or other rigid object. The opposite of club footed.
  
Loran
An electronic instrument using radio waves from various stations to find one's position. The LORAN system is being replaced by the GPS system and will be obsolete in a few years. Many LORAN stations have already stopped providing service.
  
Low
Used in meteorology to describe an area of low atmospheric pressure.
  
Low Tide
The point of a tide when the water is the lowest. The opposite of high tide.
  
Lpg
Liquid petroleum gas or propane. Propane is a common fuel used for cooking and heating. CNG (natural gas) is considered safer because propane is heavy than air and will sink into the bilge if it leaks, creating the potential for an explosion. Propane is more easily available throughout the world than CNG however, so it is used for most boats outside of North America.
  
Lubber Line
A mark on a compass used to read the heading of a boat.
  
Luff
(1) The edge of a sail toward the bow of a boat. (2) A term used to describe that edge when the airflow around it stalls. (see luffing)
  
Luff Rope
Bolt rope. A rope in the luff of a sail. The luff rope is usually used to attach the sail to a mast.
  
Luffing
A description of a flapping motion along the luff (leading edge) of a sail. A sail begins to luff when the air flow stalls when traveling across the sail. Luffing is a sign that the sail is not properly trimmed or that the boat is trying to sail too close to the eye of the wind (pinching.)
  
Lugs
Metal or plastic pieces attached to a sail's luff that slide in a mast track to allow easy hoisting of the sail.
  
Lull
A period of no wind. Lulls may be followed by a significant change of wind speed and direction.
  
Lwl
Load waterline or length waterline. Also design waterline (DWL.) This is the length of the boat at the waterline when loaded to its designed capacity.
  
Lying Ahull
A boat that is letting herself be subjected to prevailing conditions without the use of sails or other devices. Lying ahull is usually not preferred to other actions because a boat may tend to lie with her beam to the waves and the wind (parallel to the waves.) This can cause a boat to roll excessively and even become knocked down.
  
Lying to
A boat that is almost stopped with her bow into the wind, probably with the aid of a sea anchor.
  
Woodside Bottom
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