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Radar
Radio detection and ranging. An electronic instrument that uses radio waves to find the distance and location of other objects. Used to avoid collisions, particularly in times of poor visibility.
  
Radar Arch
An arch to mount the radar, usually at the stern of the boat.
  
Radar Reflector
An object designed to increase the radio reflectivity of a boat so that it is more visible on radar. Many small boats are made with fiberglass and other materials that do not reflect radar very well on their own.
  
Radio
An instrument that uses radio waves to communicate with other vessels. VHF (very high frequency) radios are common for marine use, but are limited in range. Single side band (SSB) radios have longer ranges.
  
Radio Beacon
A navigational aid that emits radio waves for navigational purposes. The radio beacon's position is known and the direction of the radiobeacon can be determined by using a radio direction finder.
  
Radio Bearing
A bearing taken with a radio direction finder toward a radio beacon.
  
Radio Direction Finder
RDF for short. An instrument that can determine the direction that a radio transmission is coming from. The RDF is used with a radio beacon to find a radio bearing to help determine the vessel's position.
  
Radiowaves
Invisible waves in the electromagnetic spectrum that are used to communicate (radio) and navigate (radar, RDF.)
  
Raft
(1) A small flat boat, usually inflatable. (2) To moor with more than one boat tied together, usually using only one boat's ground tackle.
  
Rail
The edge of a boat's deck.
  
Rake
A measurement of the top of the mast's tilt toward the bow or the stern.
  
Range
(1) distance a boat can travel with its available fuel and supplies. (2) The difference between high and low tides. (3) Two lights or daymarks that can be aligned with one behind another to indicate that one is positioned on a line on a chart, typically used to guide a boat into a channel.
  
Ratlines
Small lines tied between the shrouds to use as a ladder when going aloft.
  
Rdf
Radio direction finder. An instrument that can determine the direction that a radio transmission is coming from. The RDF is used with a radio beacon to find a radio bearing to help determine the vessel's position.
  
Reaching
Any point of sail with the wind coming from the side of the boat. If the wind is coming from directly over the side, it is a beam reach. If the boat is pointed with its bow more directly into the wind it is a close reach. If the wind is coming from over the quarter, it is called a broad reach.
  
Reciprocal
A bearing 180 from the other. A direction directly opposite the original direction.
  
Red Buoy
A nun buoy. A conical buoy with a pointed top, painted red, and having an even number, used in the United States for navigational aids. At night they may have a red light. These buoys should be kept on the right side of the boat when returning from a larger body of water to a smaller one such as a marina. Can buoys are used on the opposite side of the channel. Also see green and red daymarks.
  
Red Daymark
A navigational aid used in the United States and Canada to mark a channel. Red square daymarks should be kept on the right when returning from a larger to smaller body of water. Green daymarks mark the other side of the channel. Also see can and nun buoys.
  
Reef
(1) To partially lower a sail so that it is not as large. This helps prevent too much sail from being in use when the wind gets stronger. (2) A line of rock and coral near the surface of the water.
  
Reef Cringles
Reinforced cringles in the sail designed to hold the reefing lines when reefing the sail.
  
Reef Knot
Also known as the square knot. This knot is an unreliable knot used to loosely tie lines around the bundles of sail that are not in use after reefing.
  
Reef Points
Points where lines have been attached to tie the extra sail out of the way after reefing.
  
Reefing Lines
Lines used to pull the reef in the sail. The reef line will pass through reef cringles, which will become the new tack and clew of the reefed sail.
  
Reeve
Leeding a line through a block or other object.
  
Regatta
A series of boat races.
  
Relative Bearing
A bearing relative to the boat or another object, rather than a compass direction.
  
Rhumb Line
A line that passes through all meridians at the same angle. When drawn on a Mercator chart, the rhumb line is a straight line. However the Mercator chart is a distortion of a round globe on a flat surface, so the rhumb line will be a longer course than a great circle route.
  
Ride Out
To weather a storm, either at sea or at anchor.
  
Riding Light
Anchor light. A white light displayed from the top of the mast to indicate that the boat is at anchor.
  
Riding Sail
Also called a stability sail or steadying sail. Any small sail set to help the boat maintain its direction without necessarily moving, as when at anchor or in heavy weather.
  
Rig
(1) A combination of sails and spars. (2) To prepare the rig before sailing.
  
Rigging
The wires, lines, halyards and other items used to attach the sails and the spars to the boat. The lines that do not have to be adjusted often are known as standing rigging. The lines that are adjusted to raise, lower and trim the sails are known as running rigging.
  
Right
To return a boat that is not upright to its upright position.
  
Rigid Inflatable
A small inflatable boat that has a solid hull but has buoyancy tubes that are inflated to keep it afloat.
  
Roach
A curve out from the aft edge (leech) of a sail. Battens are sometimes used to help support and stiffen the roach.
  
Roaring Fourties
A region between 40 south and 50 south where westerly winds circle the earth unobstructed by land.
  
Rode
Anchor rode. A line or chain attached to the anchor.
  
Roll
A side to side motion of the boat, usually caused by waves. Also see pitching and yawing.
  
Roller Furling
A method of storing a sail usually by rolling the jib around the headstay or the mainsail around the boom or on the mast.
  
Roller Reefing
A system of reefing a sail by partially furling it. Roller furling systems are not necessarily designed to support roller reefing.
  
Rolling Hitch
A knot used to attach a line to a spar or similar object.
  
Rope
Traditionally a line must be over 1 inch in size to be called a rope.
  
Row
A method of moving a boat with oars. The person rowing the boat faces backwards, bringing the blade of the oars out of the water and toward the bow of the boat. They then pull the oars through the water toward the stern of the boat, moving the boat forward.
  
Rowboat
A small boat designed to be rowed by use of its oars. Some dinghys are rowboats.
  
Rub Rail, Rub Strake, Rub Guard
A rail on the outside of the hull of a boat to protect the hull from rubbing against piles, docks and other objects.
  
Rudder
A flat surface attached behind or underneath the stern used to control the direction that the boat is traveling.
  
Rudder Post
The post that the rudder is attached to. The wheel or tiller is connected to the rudder post.
  
Rules of the Road
The rules concerning which vessel has the right of way if there is a possibility of collision between two or more boats. The United States Inland Rules of the Road and International Rules of the Road are slightly different.
  
Run Aground
To take a boat into water that is too shallow for it to float in, i.e: the bottom of the boat is resting on the ground.
  
Runners
Also known as running backstays. Adjustable stays used to control tension on the mast.
  
Running
(1) A point of sail where the boat has the wind coming from aft of the boat. Running can cause the danger of an accidental jibe. (2) Used to describe a line that has been released and is in motion.
  
Running Backstay
Also known as runners. Adjustable stays used to control tension on the mast.
  
Running Bowline
A type of knot that tightens under load. It is formed by running the standing line through the loop formed in a regular bowline.
  
Running Fix
A fix taken by taking bearings of a single object over a period of time. By using the vessel's known course and speed, the location of the vessel can be found.
  
Running Lights
Navigational lights that are required to be used when a vessel is in motion.
  
Running Rigging
The lines and wires (rigging) that are used to raise, lower and adjust the sails.
  
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