Sailboats have Lines, not ropes!

Many of our sailor friends and family know that ropes on a boat are referred to as lines or sheets. But it can get complicated and every boat has different types, colors, and sizes of lines. Since we now often sail down wind and in light breeze, we have the need for additional lines. After leaving the rugged and windy California coast in August 2021, and since we have been offshore and night sailing, we added a few important lines. I will attempt to identify them here by color and location (see picture above). Beginning on the port (left side of a boat) our yellow strap is referred to as a ‘jack line’. It is the line to clip your safety harness to, in dark or poor conditions. Next is our royal blue ‘Staysail sheet’ which pulls the sail out. Our newest line is our whisker pole ‘guy’, which is on the far left, on the outside of our boats’ lifeline wires. This ‘guy’ can be pulled in or let out which alters the poles’ location so slightly. Next, is the heavy white line, our ‘Genoa/jib sheet’ running nearly horizontally in the above photo (since our whisker pole is in use). On the port side, we run our 2 roller furling lines, one to the Genoa and one to our Staysail. One is blue dotted and the other is yellow dotted. Pulling these lines will furl or roll up the sails. To the Starboard, which is the right side of a boat, is our heavy blue preventer line. It clips on to the end of our boom (see below pic) to hold the mainsail as far out as possible, creating the fullest sail for downwind. As with most lines, they run back to the cockpit, for ease and safety. These pictures are taken while we are going ‘wing and wing’ which means one sail is to starboard and one sail is to port. Another line you see is the white line laying messily piled on the foredeck. We left at midnight, so I guess I was too sleepy to tidy it!This is a ‘snubber’ which is attached to the anchor chain when we are anchored. (It prevents tugging on the anchor chain all night). If you look close you will see the last line in the picture, it is dynema and it’s clipped to secure the anchor, as a safety back up. Below is a shot of the lines attached to the boom, in addition to the boom brake and the boom vang.

You can see below that our 24 foot whisker pole holds our Genoa out, since light wind and rolley swell will cause a sail to flog or flap in the wind, which can slow a boat down and be uncomfortable. The large white line is the jib sheet. The line on the right is the ‘guy’, discussed above. The topping lift is a line which holds the pole up horizontally. Lastly, the line under the pole is to extend it or shorten, if needed.

If this wasn’t confusing enough, stay tuned next time for the information for the below photo (mast lines)!

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