Sailboat Parts Explained: Illustrated Guide (with Diagrams)

When you first get into sailing, there are a lot of sailboat parts to learn. Scouting for a good guide to all the parts, I couldn't find any, so I wrote one myself.

Below, I'll go over each different sailboat part. And I mean each and every one of them. I'll walk you through them one by one, and explain each part's function. I've also made sure to add good illustrations and clear diagrams.

This article is a great reference for beginners and experienced sailors alike. It's a great starting point, but also a great reference manual. Let's kick off with a quick general overview of the different sailboat parts.

General Overview

The different segments

You can divide up a sailboat in four general segments. These segments are arbitrary (I made them up) but it will help us to understand the parts more quickly. Some are super straightforward and some have a bit more ninja names.

Something like that. You can see the different segments highlighted in this diagram below:

Diagram of the four main parts categories of a sailboat

The hull is what most people would consider 'the boat'. It's the part that provides buoyancy and carries everything else: sails, masts, rigging, and so on. Without the hull, there would be no boat. The hull can be divided into different parts: deck, keel, cabin, waterline, bilge, bow, stern, rudder, and many more.

I'll show you those specific parts later on. First, let's move on to the mast.

sailboat deck hardware names

Sailboats Explained

The mast is the long, standing pole holding the sails. It is typically placed just off-center of a sailboat (a little bit to the front) and gives the sailboat its characteristic shape. The mast is crucial for any sailboat: without a mast, any sailboat would become just a regular boat.

I think this segment speaks mostly for itself. Most modern sailboats you see will have two sails up, but they can carry a variety of other specialty sails. And there are all kinds of sail plans out there, which determine the amount and shape of sails that are used.

The Rigging

This is probably the most complex category of all of them.

Rigging is the means with which the sails are attached to the mast. The rigging consists of all kinds of lines, cables, spars, and hardware. It's the segment with the most different parts.

The most important parts

If you learn anything from this article, here are the most important parts of any sailboat. You will find all of these parts in some shape or form on almost any sailboat.

Diagram of Parts of a sailboat - General overview

Okay, we now have a good starting point and a good basic understanding of the different sailboat parts. It's time for the good stuff. We're going to dive into each segment in detail.

Below, I'll go over them one by one, pointing out its different parts on a diagram, listing them with a brief explanation, and showing you examples as well.

After reading this article, you'll recognize every single sailboat part and know them by name. And if you forget one, you're free to look it up in this guide.

Diagram of the Hull Parts of a sailboat

On this page:

The hull is the heart of the boat. It's what carries everything: the mast, the sails, the rigging, the passengers. The hull is what provides the sailboat with its buoyancy, allowing it to stay afloat.

Sailboats mostly use displacement hulls, which is a shape that displaces water when moving through it. They are generally very round and use buoyancy to support its own weight. These two characteristics make sure it is a smooth ride.

There are different hull shapes that work and handle differently. If you want to learn more about them, here's the Illustrated Guide to Boat Hull Types (with 11 Examples ). But for now, all we need to know is that the hull is the rounded, floating part of any sailboat.

Instead of simply calling the different sides of a hull front, back, left and right , we use different names in sailing. Let's take a look at them.

Diagram of the Hull Parts of a sailboat

The bow is the front part of the hull. It's simply the nautical word for 'front'. It's the pointy bit that cuts through the water. The shape of the bow determines partially how the boat handles.

The stern is the back part of the hull. It's simply the nautical word for 'back'. The shape of the stern partially determines the stability and speed of the boat. With motorboats, the stern lies deep inside the water, and the hull is flatter aft. Aft also means back. This allows it to plane, increasing the hull speed. For sailboats, stability is much more important, so the hull is rounded throughout, increasing its buoyancy and hydrodynamic properties.

The transom is the backplate of the boat's hull. It's the most aft (rear) part of the boat.

Port is the left side of a sailboat.

Starboard is the right side of a sailboat

The bilges are the part where the bottom and the sides of the hull meet. On sailboats, these are typically very round, which helps with hydrodynamics. On powerboats, they tend to have an angle.

The waterline is the point where the boat's hull meets the water. Generally, boat owners paint the waterline and use antifouling paint below it, to protect it from marine growth.

The deck is the top part of the boat's hull. In a way, it's the cap of the boat, and it holds the deck hardware and rigging.

Displacement hulls are very round and smooth, which makes them very efficient and comfortable. But it also makes them very easy to capsize: think of a canoe, for example.

The keel is a large fin that offsets the tendency to capsize by providing counterbalance. Typically, the keel carries ballast in the tip, creating a counterweight to the wind's force on the sails.

The rudder is the horizontal plate at the back of the boat that is used to steer by setting a course and maintaining it. It is connected to the helm or tiller.

Tiller or Helm

  • The helm is simply the nautical term for the wheel.
  • The tiller is simply the nautical term for the steering stick.

The tiller or helm is attached to the rudder and is used to steer the boat. Most smaller sailboats (below 30') have a tiller, most larger sailboats use a helm. Large ocean-going vessels tend to have two helms.

The cockpit is the recessed part in the deck where the helmsman sits or stands. It tends to have some benches. It houses the outside navigation and systems interfaces, like the compass, chartplotter, and so on. It also houses the mainsheet traveler and winches for the jib. Most boats are set up so that the entire vessel can be operated from the cockpit (hence the name). More on those different parts later.

Most larger boats have some sort of roofed part, which is called the cabin. The cabin is used as a shelter, and on cruising sailboats you'll find the galley for cooking, a bed, bath room, and so on.

The mast is the pole on a sailboat that holds the sails. Sailboats can have one or multiple masts, depending on the mast configuration. Most sailboats have only one or two masts. Three masts or more is less common.

The boom is the horizontal pole on the mast, that holds the mainsail in place.

The sails seem simple, but actually consist of many moving parts. The parts I list below work for most modern sailboats - I mean 90% of them. However, there are all sorts of specialty sails that are not included here, to keep things concise.

Diagram of the Sail Parts of a sailboat

The mainsail is the largest sail on the largest mast. Most sailboats use a sloop rigging (just one mast with one bermuda mainsail). In that case, the main is easy to recognize. With other rig types, it gets more difficult, since there can be multiple tall masts and large sails.

If you want to take a look at the different sail plans and rig types that are out there, I suggest reading my previous guide on how to recognize any sailboat here (opens in new tab).

Sail sides:

  • Leech - Leech is the name for the back side of the sail, running from the top to the bottom.
  • Luff - Luff is the name for the front side of the sail, running from the top to the bottom.
  • Foot - Foot is the name for the lower side of the sail, where it meets the boom.

Sail corners:

  • Clew - The clew is the lower aft (back) corner of the mainsail, where the leech is connected to the foot. The clew is attached to the boom.
  • Tack - The tack is the lower front corner of the mainsail
  • Head - The head is the top corner of the mainsail

Battens are horizontal sail reinforcers that flatten and stiffen the sail.

Telltales are small strings that show you whether your sail trim is correct. You'll find telltales on both your jib and mainsail.

The jib is the standard sized headsail on a Bermuda Sloop rig (which is the sail plan most modern sailboats use).

As I mentioned: there are all kinds, types, and shapes of sails. For an overview of the most common sail types, check out my Guide on Sail Types here (with photos).

The rigging is what is used to attach your sails and mast to your boat. Rigging, in other words, mostly consists of all kinds of lines. Lines are just another word for ropes. Come to think of it, sailors really find all kinds of ways to complicate the word rope ...

Two types of rigging

There are two types of rigging: running and standing rigging. The difference between the two is very simple.

  • The running rigging is the rigging on a sailboat that's used to operate the sails. For example, the halyard, which is used to lower and heave the mainsail.
  • The standing rigging is the rigging that is used to support the mast and sail plan.

Standing Rigging

Diagram of the Standing Riggin Parts of a sailboat

Here are the different parts that belong to the standing rigging:

  • Forestay or Headstay - Line or cable that supports the mast and is attached to the bow of the boat. This is often a steel cable.
  • Backstay - Line or cable that supports the mast and is attached to the stern of the boat. This is often a steel cable.
  • Sidestay or Shroud - Line or cable that supports the mast from the sides of the boat. Most sailboats use at least two sidestays (one on each side).
  • Spreader - The sidestays are spaced to steer clear from the mast using spreaders.

Running Rigging: different words for rope

Ropes play a big part in sailing, and especially in control over the sails. In sailboat jargon, we call ropes 'lines'. But there are some lines with a specific function that have a different name. I think this makes it easier to communicate with your crew: you don't have to define which line you mean. Instead, you simply shout 'mainsheet!'. Yeah, that works.

Running rigging consists of the lines, sheets, and hardware that are used to control, raise, lower, shape and manipulate the sails on a sailboat. Rigging varies for different rig types, but since most sailboats are use a sloop rig, nearly all sailboats use the following running rigging:

Diagram of the Running Rigging Parts of a sailboat

  • Halyards -'Halyard' is simply the nautical name for lines or ropes that are used to raise and lower the mainsail. The halyard is attached to the top of the mainsail sheet, or the gaffer, which is a top spar that attaches to the mainsail. You'll find halyards on both the mainsail and jib.
  • Sheets - 'Sheet' is simply the nautical term for lines or ropes that are used to set the angle of the sail.
  • Mainsheet - The line, or sheet, that is used to set the angle of the mainsail. The mainsheet is attached to the Mainsheet traveler. More on that under hardware.
  • Jib Sheet - The jib mostly comes with two sheets: one on each side of the mast. This prevents you from having to loosen your sheet, throwing it around the other side of the mast, and tightening it. The jib sheets are often controlled using winches (more on that under hardware).
  • Cleats are small on-deck hooks that can be used to tie down sheets and lines after trimming them.
  • Reefing lines - Lines that run through the mainsail, used to put a reef in the main.
  • The Boom Topping Lift is a line that is attached to the aft (back) end of the boom and runs to the top of the mast. It supports the boom whenever you take down the mainsail.
  • The Boom Vang is a line that places downward tension on the boom.

There are some more tensioning lines, but I'll leave them for now. I could probably do an entire guide on the different sheets on a sailboat. Who knows, perhaps I'll write it.

This is a new segment, that I didn't mention before. It's a bit of an odd duck, so I threw all sorts of stuff into this category. But they are just as important as all the other parts. Your hardware consists of cleats, winches, traveler and so on. If you don't know what all of this means, no worries: neither did I. Below, you'll find a complete overview of the different parts.

Deck Hardware

Diagram of the Deck Hardware Parts of a sailboat

Just a brief mention of the different deck hardware parts:

  • Pulpits are fenced platforms on the sailboat's stern and bow, which is why they are called the bow pulpit and stern pulpit here. They typically have a solid steel framing for safety.
  • Stanchons are the standing poles supporting the lifeline , which combined for a sort of fencing around the sailboat's deck. On most sailboats, steel and steel cables are used for the stanchons and lifelines.

Mainsheet Traveler

The mainsheet traveler is a rail in the cockpit that is used to control the mainsheet. It helps to lock the mainsheet in place, fixing the mainsails angle to the wind.

sailboat deck hardware names

If you're interested in learning more about how to use the mainsheet traveler, Matej has written a great list of tips for using your mainsheet traveler the right way . It's a good starting point for beginners.

Winches are mechanical or electronic spools that are used to easily trim lines and sheets. Most sailboats use winches to control the jib sheets. Modern large sailing yachts use electronic winches for nearly all lines. This makes it incredibly easy to trim your lines.

sailboat deck hardware names

You'll find the compass typically in the cockpit. It's the most old-skool navigation tool out there, but I'm convinced it's also one of the most reliable. In any way, it definitely is the most solid backup navigator you can get for the money.

sailboat deck hardware names

Want to learn how to use a compass quickly and reliably? It's easy. Just read my step-by-step beginner guide on How To Use a Compass (opens in new tab .


Most sailboats nowadays use, besides a compass and a map, a chartplotter. Chartplotters are GPS devices that show a map and a course. It's very similar to your normal car navigation.

sailboat deck hardware names

Outboard motor

Most sailboats have some sort of motor to help out when there's just the slightest breeze. These engines aren't very big or powerful, and most sailboats up to 32' use an outboard motor. You'll find these at the back of the boat.

sailboat deck hardware names

Most sailboats carry 1 - 3 anchors: one bow anchor (the main one) and two stern anchors. The last two are optional and are mostly used by bluewater cruisers.

sailboat deck hardware names

I hope this was helpful, and that you've gained a good understanding of the different parts involved in sailing. I wanted to write a good walk-through instead of overwhelming you with lists and lists of nautical terms. I hope I've succeeded. If so, I appreciate any comments and tips below.

I've tried to be as comprehensive as possible, without getting into the real nitty gritty. That would make for a gigantic article. However, if you feel I've left something out that really should be in here, please let me know in the comments below, so I can update the article.

I own a small 20 foot yacht called a Red witch made locally back in the 70s here in Western Australia i found your article great and enjoyed reading it i know it will be a great help for me in my future leaning to sail regards John.

David Gardner

İ think this is a good explanation of the difference between a ”rope” and a ”line”:

Rope is unemployed cordage. In other words, when it is in a coil and has not been assigned a job, it is just a rope.

On the other hand, when you prepare a rope for a specific task, it becomes employed and is a line. The line is labeled by the job it performs; for example, anchor line, dock line, fender line, etc.

Hey Mr. Buckles

I am taking on new crew to race with me on my Flying Scot (19ft dingy). I find your Sailboat Parts Explained to be clear and concise. I believe it will help my new crew learn the language that we use on the boat quickly without being overwhelmed.

PS: my grandparents were from Friesland and emigrated to America.

Thank you Shawn for the well written, clear and easy to digest introductory article. Just after reading this first article I feel excited and ready to set sails and go!! LOL!! Cheers! Daniel.

steve Balog

well done, chap

Great intro. However, the overview diagram misidentifies the cockpit location. The cockpit is located aft of the helm. Your diagram points to a location to the fore of the helm.

William Thompson-Ambrose

An excellent introduction to the basic anatomy and function of the sailboat. Anyone who wants to start sailing should consider the above article before stepping aboard! Thank-you

James Huskisson

Thanks for you efforts mate. We’ve all got to start somewhere. Thanks for sharing. Hoping to my first yacht. 25ft Holland. Would love to cross the Bass Strait one day to Tasmania. 👌 Cheers mate

Alan Alexander Percy

thankyou ijust aquired my first sailboat at 66yrs of age its down at pelican point a beautifull place in virginia usa my sailboat is a redwing 30 if you are ever in the area i wouldnt mind your guidance and superior knowledge of how to sail but iam sure your fantastic article will help my sailboat is wings 30 ft

Thanks for quick refresher course. Having sailed in California for 20+ years I now live in Spain where I have to take a spanish exam for a sailboat license. Problem is, it’s only in spanish. So a lot to learn for an old guy like me.

Very comprehensive, thank you

Your article really brought all the pieces together for me today. I have been adventuring my first sailing voyage for 2 months from the Carolinas and am now in Eleuthera waiting on weather to make the Exumas!!! Great job and thanks

Helen Ballard

I’ve at last found something of an adventure to have in sailing, so I’m starting at the basics, I have done a little sailing but need more despite being over 60 life in the old dog etc, thanks for your information 😊

Barbara Scott

I don’t have a sailboat, neither do l plan to literally take to the waters. But for mental exercise, l have decided to take to sailing in my Bermuda sloop, learning what it takes to become a good sailor and run a tight ship, even if it’s just imaginary. Thank you for helping me on my journey to countless adventures and misadventures, just to keep it out of the doldrums! (I’m a 69 year old African American female who have rediscovered why l enjoyed reading The Adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson as well as his captivating description of sea, wind, sailboat,and sailor).

Great article and very good information source for a beginner like me. But I didn’t find out what I had hoped to, which is, what are all those noisy bits of kit on top of the mast? I know the one with the arrow is a weather vane, but the rest? Many thanks, Jay.

Louis Cohen

The main halyard is attached to the head of the mainsail, not the to the mainsheet. In the USA, we say gaff, not gaffer. The gaff often has its own halyard separate from the main halyard.

Other than that it’s a nice article with good diagrams.

A Girl Who Has an Open Sail Dream

Wow! That was a lot of great detail! Thank you, this is going to help me a lot on my project!

Hi, good info, do u know a book that explains all the systems on a candc 27,

Emma Delaney

As a hobbyist, I was hesitant to invest in expensive CAD software, but CADHOBBY IntelliCAD has proven to be a cost-effective alternative that delivers the same quality and performance.

Leave a comment

You may also like, guide to understanding sail rig types (with pictures).

There are a lot of different sail rig types and it can be difficult to remember what's what. So I've come up with a system. Let me explain it in this article.

Cruising yacht with mainsail, headsail, and gennaker

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Aerial view of the deck of a sailboat in Caribbean waters

Parts of a Sailboat – The Deck

By: Zeke Quezada, ASA Learn To Sail , Sailboats

Understanding the deck of a sailboat is all part of learning to sail. Essentially, the deck of a boat is both your office and your supply cabinet. This is because many of the tools required to sail a vessel are on the deck.

Sailboats come in many shapes, sizes, and forms to meet the needs of sailors with various desires and ambitions. They also reflect the styles and ideas of their designers and builders and are considered by some sailors to be an art form. The illustrations below depict a boat about 33 feet long of fairly typical design above and below deck and fitted with basic systems commonly found on cruising boats. 

The boat we are describing is typical of a boat you may be using as part of ASA 103 Basic Coastal Cruising — it’s more involved and some parts may not be found on a smaller daysailing vessel. However, there’s a lot more to a cruising boat than a cockpit and cuddy cabin. You can walk around on it, on deck, and below. And it has a few more features for which you’ll have to learn the nautical names.

Diagram of the deck of a sailboat.

Parts of the Deck of a Sailboat - Cruising Vessel

The Helm   Smaller daysailers used for ASA Basic Keelboat courses often have a tiller; this boat has a steering wheel. While it’s possible to steer this big of a boat with a tiller, and many sailors prefer the feel and response it gives when sailing, the tiller needed to provide sufficient leverage would be quite long. The wheel offers the same or even more leverage while taking up much less space in the cockpit — much of the linkage system that connects it to the rudder is beneath the cockpit.

The Cockpit   The cockpit of a cruising sailboat serves as the command center and focal point of activity while sailing. It is typically located in the recessed area of the deck where the helmsman sits or stands, and it often features storage lockers under the seats. The functionality of the cockpit is essential for helming, sail trimming, watchkeeping, and other sailing activities. 

Modern boat designs have prioritized bigger, taller, and more comfortable living quarters over the functionality of the cockpit. As a result, cockpit ergonomics involve more than comfortable seating and coaming angles. Wide-beam boats benefit from a large diameter wheel, allowing the helmsman to steer on the windward rail where sight lines are unimpeded by a dodger, mast, or headsail.

Some boats have every sail-control line led to the cockpit, which requires additional blocks or sheaves to be added to the running rigging system. 

The cockpit is self-bailing — it’s high enough above the waterline that any water that gets into it can drain overboard by gravity. Water drains through scuppers (they look like large bathtub drains) in the aft corners of the cockpit well. 

Sailing is not all tacking and jibing; the cockpit also serves as the boat’s porch, lounge, and dining room. The seats are designed to provide support and comfort when sailing and at rest.

Cockpit Stowages   Daysailers carry a fair amount of ancillary gear — dock lines, fenders, and safety gear — and a boat equipped for cruising carries a great deal more. All this stuff has to go somewhere so it’s not underfoot while the boat’s sailing, so a lot of it goes in the cockpit lockers. 

A hatch in the cockpit seat typically opens to reveal a deep locker. Such a locker is large enough to hold lots of gear, including an extra sail or two. Keeping it organized can be challenging but necessary, not so that you can find a spare line in a hurry but because often the same locker also provides access to some critical fixed equipment. That equipment may include the engine and the steering gear. Another shallow locker may exist in the cockpit, but this one is shallow because the space below is used as part of the living quarters. Finally, at the helm, you may find a hatch or two that provide access to the steering gear and other systems.

Obstacles on the Deck Obstacles are inevitable on the deck of a sailboat. When navigating on the deck, make sure to always reserve a hand for the boat to ensure your safety, maintaining three points of contact. If sailing, the safest path forward is along the windward side. Always use the handrails to keep your body closer to the boat.

Sidedeck  Your first obstacle when leaving the cockpit to go forward on the deck is the cockpit coaming, which extends aft of the trunk cabin, the area of the deck that’s raised to provide headroom in the cabin below. 

Stepping over the cockpit coaming brings you onto the side deck, which runs between the trunk cabin and the outside edge of the deck (which is often referred to as the rail because of the toerail attached there to provide secure footing). 

Just inside the toerail are the stanchions that support the lifelines. 

As you move forward, you will encounter the shrouds, the wires that support the mast laterally. They attach to the deck at the chainplates which carry the forces generated by the sails into the structure of the hull. 

Between the lower end of each wire shroud and its chainplate is a turnbuckle, which is used to tension the shroud by adjusting its length. A clevis pin connects the turnbuckle to the chainplate and a cotter pin passed through a hole on the end of the clevis pin prevents the clevis pin from backing out. Cotter pins are also fitted through the screws in the turnbuckles so they cannot unscrew and loosen. 

Foredeck When you walk forward of the mast, you come to the foredeck. Most modern sailboats have roller-furling sails, so you will not be changing a headsail on the foredeck, but you will still utilize this space when anchoring and docking.

Fairleads on each side of the bow direct docklines to two large mooring cleats mounted on the deck. 

The anchor can be found on the foredeck and is usually stowed on a stemhead fitting. This setup makes for a much easier deployment of the anchor. The stemhead fitting is a hefty stainless-steel fabrication that incorporates a roller fairlead for the anchor rode and the chainplate for the forestay. A hatch in the foredeck covers the anchor locker where the rode is stowed ready for use.


READ: Parts of a Sailboat — The Sails

READ: Parts of a Sailboat — The Keel

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The Different Parts Of A Sailboat Explained

A sailboat consists of hundreds of parts, each with its specific term and function. From stern to bow, keel to mast, each part and its equipment plays a vital role in making the vessel seaworthy and able to sail.

In this guide, I’ll show you most of the components so you can better understand what they are and their function. We’ll begin with the main components, move to the basic features, and finish with our interior and equipment.

The main parts of a sailboat

The main parts of a sailboat are the key components that make it a vessel able to sail. You’ll notice that the structure has several distinct differences from powerboats.

We can categorize the main parts into the following:

  • Hull: The main structure, or “body” part of a boat.
  • Keel: The heavy fin at the bottom allows stability under sail.
  • Rudder: The fin sticking down at the stern, allowing us to steer the vessel.
  • Mast: The “spars” or “poles” holding the sails.
  • Rigging: The standing rig is the wires that supports the mast. The running rigging is all the lines that control the sails.
  • Boom: The horizontal spar supporting the bottom of the mainsail.
  • Sails: The canvas used to harness the energy of the wind.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of the components.

Hull – The main structure

A sailboat’s hull is the vessel’s main body or structure. The shape is vital to the boat’s performance and stability, and you have probably seen boats in many different forms. Older vessels are typically narrow, with a rounded underbody and a small stern. Modern designs have a flatter belly and broad stern supporting dual helm stations.

One of the hull’s primary functions is to displace water and provide buoyancy to keep the boat afloat. The hull is also the structure that holds the vessel’s living compartments and all its equipment. The main structure must be strong enough to withstand the forces of the water and any rough weather conditions that Mother Nature might throw at it.

Fiberglass (GRP), steel, aluminum, and wood are the most commonly used hull materials, each with pros and cons.

You can learn more about hull materials and their strengths in this article .

A monohull is a type of sailboat that has a single hull. Monohulls are classified into two categories based on weight and shape: planing and displacement hulls.

Sailboats with more than one hull are called  multihulls.  There are two types of multihulls: catamarans, which have two, and trimarans, which have three. These boats are typically designed with planing hulls.

Keel – The fin under the boat

The keel of a sailboat is a structural fin that extends downward from the bottom of the hull. There are several types of keels, each with unique characteristics and advantages. They all serve the same fundamental purpose of stabilizing the boat when we sail by adding lateral resistance in the water and weight at the vessel’s bottom.

Standard keel designs include:

  • Lifting Keel

Some sailboats have a retractable centerboard functioning as their keel, allowing them to take the boat into shallower areas.

Rudder – To steer the boat

The rudder is a flat surface that sits perpendicular to the waterline. It is connected to the boat by a pivot point, allowing it to swivel left and right. When the steering wheel or tiller is turned, the rudder moves, creating drag in the water causing the boat to turn. The size and shape of the rudder can vary depending on the size and type of boat.

The most commonly seen rudder designs:

  • Full skeg-supported
  • Semi skeg-supported

Skeg-supported rudders are structurally one of the most reliable and robust constructions, but they are less efficient than a balanced rudder performance-wise. Balanced rudders pivot around their vertical center, giving less drag in the water and higher maneuverability at the cost of being a more vulnerable construction.

Twin rudders are often seen on modern performance sailboats with a wide stern. When the sailboat  heel over , the leeward rudder gets better track through the water than a single rudder placed at the vessel’s center line. Contrary to some misconceptions, they can’t be controlled individually, even if the boat has two steering wheels.

Mast and Rigging – Supporting the sails

The mast is the long vertical spar that extends upward from the deck of a sailboat and holds the sails. It is the tallest part of the boat and is typically made of wood, aluminum, or carbon fiber. The mast is held in place by stays and shrouds, which form the sailboat’s  standing  rigging.

Depending on the rig the boat is manufactured with, there are several different types of masts. For example, a sloop-rigged sailboat will have only one main mast, while a ketch-rigged vessel will have a smaller additional mizzen mast placed further aft from the main mast.

There are two types of rigging:

  • The Standing rigging   consists of the stays and shrouds that keep the mast or masts in place.
  • The Running rigging   is the lines we use to hoist, lower, and control the sails.

Pro Tip: “S par” is a general term for a pole made of a solid material like wood, metal, or composite and is used to support a boat’s sail. The mast, boom, spreaders, and poles are defined as spars.

Boom – Supporting the mainsail

The boom is a horizontal beam extending from the mast and supporting the mainsail’s tack and clew (bottom two corners). It is attached to the mast by a hinge called a Gooseneck .

We use the boom to control the shape and angle of the mainsail to optimize its efficiency and power. Some booms also have a  Vang  or  Rod-Kicker  installed to assist in trimming the mainsail.

Sails – The canvas used to harness the energy of the wind

Most vessels have at least two sails, depending on the rig type and boat setup.

The Mainsail flies behind the mast, on top of the boom. Although it may not always be the largest sail on the vessel, we commonly refer to it as “the main.”

The Headsail(s ), located in front of the mast, are often of different sizes and shapes, and many sailboats have more than one. The Jib and Genoa are two of the most common types.

Different types of sails are used for various sail plans and situations, and you can learn more about them in this guide .

Now that we had a look at the main parts of the boat, let us dive deeper and look at the rest of the vessel.

The starboard and port side of the boat

Learning about the boat’s components is very important, but we must also know how to orient ourselves on the vessel. Using the words “left and right” on onboard often leads to confusion.

If you refer to something on the left side of the boat, the person facing you will be confused. He won’t know if you are referring to his or your left. This is where the terms “Port” and “ Starboard ” make better sense.

When facing the front of the boat or the  bow , your left side of the boat is the  port  side, and the right-hand side is the starboard . If you turn around and face the back of the boat or the  stern , your right-hand side will be the  port  side.

  • A red light identifies the port side of a vessel.
  • A green light identifies the starboard side of a vessel.

Windward and Leeward

  • The windward side of the boat is the side facing the wind. If the wind comes from your right-hand side while facing forward, the starboard side is windward. This will be the boat’s high side as the wind heels the boat over.
  • The leeward side of the boat is the side opposite to the wind. This will be the lower side of the ship while sailing as the wind heels the boat over.

Windward and leeward are two of the most important aspects to understand when sailing and navigating. Not only to identify equipment and gear on each side of the boat but to avoid collisions when sailing close to other vessels. There are rules on the water dictating which boat is “Stand On” and which has to “Give Way” depending on whether you are the windward or the leeward vessel in the situation.

Read this article to access a free course on navigation rules .

Basic parts of a sailboat

The boat’s bow is the front part, typically shaped like a “V” to cut through the waves. Larger vessels often have a locker for their anchor chain in this section, holding the anchor at the front.

The midship section is the center of the boat. Some refer to this part as amidships.

The stern is the rear or back part of the boat. It is also referred to as the  aft . I’ve had French crew calling the stern the butt of the vessel, which is funny but also correct!

The beam is the widest part of the boat. Also referred to as the sides on the middle.

The transom is a flat surface across the stern of the boat.

The waterline is the part where the hull (body) of the boat meets the water. Many vessels have a painted stripe to mark the waterline, indicating how loaded the ship is. If you have too much stuff on board, the waterline goes underwater, and it is time to do some housekeeping!

The freeboard is the vertical part of the ship side between the water and the deck. When you see a blue boat like Ellidah, the freeboard is the blue part.

The deck is the “floor” of the boat when you are outside. You have probably heard the term “All hands on deck!” The  front deck  is the deck space in front of the mast.  Side decks  are the decks on the boat’s sides.

The  mid-deck  is between the cockpit and the mast. The aft deck is the deck behind the cockpit. Sailboats with aft cockpits often don’t have any aft decks, but some have a swimming platform instead.

The cockpit is the boat’s steering position and where you will find the helm.

The helm is the position the helmsman uses to steer the boat. Smaller sailboats often use a tiller to navigate, while most bigger yachts have one or two steering wheels.

Main parts below deck (inside the boat)

Let us look at the interior to highlight and learn about the parts we have below the deck.

The Companionway

The companionway is the “front door” of the boat. This is where the steps lead from the cockpit or deck down below. It is usually opened and closed using a hatch, two doors, or a plate.

The Galley 

The galley is the boat’s kitchen. This is where sailors prepare their delicious meals.

The Saloon 

The saloon is basically the boat’s living room, usually where you find the settee and dinette. This is where delicious meals from the galley are served together with refreshing beverages in good company.

The settee is the sofa or couch in a boat. It is also used as a sea berth to sleep in when sailing.

The dinette is the area where you can sit down at a table and eat your dinner. It’s also perfect for consuming rum and a game of cards in good company.

A cabin is often used as a bedroom in a boat but is not necessarily where you sleep. Many boats have more than one cabin.

A berth is a place in the boat where you can sleep. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bed and can often include the sleeping space in the saloon. Sea-berth usually refers to a sleeping position where you are tucked well in and can sleep when the boat is heeling over and moving around.

The head is the toilet on a boat. If your skipper tells you to go and clean the head, getting out the shampoo won’t do you any good!

Nav station

The navigation station is usually a chart table and a console with mysterious instruments like radios, switchboards, and complicated electronics. This is where adventures are planned and the skipper’s favorite seat onboard.

The bilge is a space in the bottom of the hull where water collects and sometimes a storage space for all sorts of things. It usually contains a  bilge pump  to pump out water that finds its way into the boat in various places.

A v-berth is a bed in the front cabin shaped like a V.

A bulkhead is a wall inside the boat, usually supporting the structure.

Hardware and Equipment

Sailboats come equipped with a variety of different hardware and equipment. While the specific items may vary from boat to boat, there are some essentials that nearly every sailboat has.

A winch is a metal drum that gives you a mechanical advantage and is used to control and tighten lines. These can be operated by turning a line around it and pulling manually or by a winch handle to get more force.

Most modern winches are so-called “self-tailing,” which means they lock the line on so you can winch the line without holding on to it. Some boats even have electrical winches operated by a button.

A cleat is a fitting used to fasten a rope. Most boats have at least 6 of these. One on each side on the bow, midship and stern. These are used to secure the boat to a mooring buoy or key. Many ships have more cleats than this for various lines and ropes, and they can be used for anything as they are strong points fitted to the hull.

The sprayhood is the boat’s windshield that protects the people in the cockpit from sea spray. Some vessels have a canvas sprayhood that can be folded down or removed. Others have solid sprayhoods, often called a  hard dodger  or a  doghouse .

The bimini is the cockpit’s “roof.” It protects you from the elements and shelters you from spray, rain, and burning sun rays! A bimini can be made of canvas or hard material. A hard bimini can also be called a  hardtop .


A dinghy is a little boat you use to get from the mothership to shore when you are at anchor, also called a  tender  or  annex . It can be everything from a small inflatable rubber kayak to a RIB or even a solid boat.

An essential and valuable piece of kit as it is the daily driver for most cruisers. It is like the car of a land crab, used for all commuting on the water and hauling important stuff like beer, rum, and food onboard. Dinghies often have electric or petrol engines, which we call outboards.

Dinghies are also great to use for watersports, such as wakeboarding!

Like Captain Ron said in the movie, fenders are the rubber bumper things you hang off your boat to prevent it from scratching against something like the pontoon or another ship. It is conveniently also used to sit on or as a backrest while relaxing on deck.

A boat hook is a long stick with a hook at the end. Used to grab lines, items, and stuff that is too far to reach by hand, like cushions flying overboard. It is also convenient as a tool to push the boat away from another craft or the key. Most vessels have them on board.

The guard rail can be a flexible wire or a solid metal rail surrounding the boat to prevent us from falling overboard. Some also use a net as an addition for increased safety.

The pushpit is a metal guard rail around the stern of the boat. This is where the guard rail is secured on the stern: a common place to mount the BBQ, life raft, and the outboard for the dinghy.

The pulpit is the metal guardrail on the bow. This is where the guard rail is secured onto the bow.

The stanchions are the metal bars that keep the guard rail in place around the boat between the pushpit and the pulpit.

An arch is a typical structure made of stainless steel on the back of a boat and is often used to mount a variety of items like antennas, radars, solar panels, wind generators, etc. It is also convenient to use for lifting the dinghy and its outboard.

Ground Tackle

The ground tackle consists of several things:

  • Your anchor
  • Your anchor  chain
  • The  link between the two
  • The connection between the chain and your boat

It includes all equipment holding your boat to the ground. Larger boats sometimes have two anchors on the bow.

A windlass is a winch that hoists and lowers the anchor and chain. Most boats have one on the bow and some on the stern. These incredible things can be electrical or manual (some are both) and are essential to anchor your boat when not in a port or marina.

VHF stands for “Very High-Frequency Radio.” It broadcasts on the VHF network and allows you to communicate with others around you. Sadly, you won’t be able to tune in to your favorite radio show on these.

Still, they are essential for contacting other boats and port authorities. It is also the radio you will transmit an emergency mayday over in case of emergency. VHF radios sometimes require a license, depending on the country you are in.


A Chartplotter is a navigation computer that shows various information on a screen, like charts, routes, radar images, etc. It is another vital piece of equipment that helps you navigate and maneuver the boat.

Final words

I hope this guide has been helpful and not too overwhelming for you. We’ve covered many of the parts of a sailboat and its terms and functions, but this article only touches on the basics. If you want to keep learning about sailing, I have written several other guides to help you get started.

Now that you have a basic understanding of sailboats, it’s time to take the next step and dive into a sailboat’s standing rigging .

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Skipper, Electrician and ROV Pilot

Robin is the founder and owner of Sailing Ellidah and has been living on his sailboat since 2019. He is currently on a journey to sail around the world and is passionate about writing his story and helpful content to inspire others who share his interest in sailing.

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sailboat deck hardware names

Parts of a Yacht Deck: A Comprehensive Guide

by Emma Sullivan | Aug 12, 2023 | Sailing Adventures

sailboat deck hardware names

Short answer: Parts of a yacht deck:

The main parts of a yacht deck include the bow, stern, port and starboard sides, cockpit, foredeck, afterdeck, and swim platform. Other components may include safety railings, cleats for securing lines, hatches for access to lower compartments, and anchor wells.

Understanding the Essential Parts of a Yacht Deck: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to yachts, one of the most important areas to acquaint yourself with is the deck. The deck serves as the foundation for your maritime adventures and plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth sailing . In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the essential parts that make up a yacht deck, equipping you with valuable knowledge for your voyages.

1. Foredeck: The foredeck represents the forwardmost part of the yacht ‘s deck. This area is typically spacious and flat, allowing for various activities such as sunbathing or hosting social gatherings. It provides easy access to the anchor and anchor windlass system , enabling smooth anchoring operations.

2. Cockpit: Moving towards the center of the yacht deck , you’ll find the cockpit—a well-designed area where navigation is carried out. Equipped with multiple instruments and controls, this section allows sailors to keep a close eye on their course and monitor various systems onboard. The cockpit also serves as a gathering spot for all passengers during navigation or when enjoying outdoor meals.

3. Helm Station: Situated within the cockpit is the helm station—often considered as the nerve center of any yacht. This is where skilled captains steer and navigate through different water conditions using a combination of traditional wheel control or modern joystick advancements found in technologically advanced vessels. The helm station embodies both power and precision required for safe maneuvering on open waters .

4. Flybridge: For those seeking sweeping views while relaxing or controlling their vessel , look no further than the flybridge located atop many larger yachts’ decks—accessible via stairs from either side near the cockpit area. The flybridge offers an elevated vantage point from which to soak in panoramic vistas and direct overall navigation activities confidently.

5. Swim Platform: Yacht decks are not limited solely to above-water areas; they often feature swim platforms extending from the stern. These platforms provide easy and safe access to the water for swimming, snorkeling, or enjoying watersports activities. With built-in ladders or steps, these platforms enhance the overall experience of your yacht adventure.

6. Aft Deck: Situated at the back of the yacht, the aft deck is an expansive space that connects the interior and exterior areas seamlessly. It is often used for dining al fresco, lounging, or entertaining guests. This area also serves as a gateway to other sections such as crew quarters, ensuring smooth operations on board.

7. Side Decks: Connecting various parts of the yacht deck are side decks—narrow walkways found on both port (left) and starboard (right) sides of the vessel. These corridors allow crew members and guests to move safely from one area to another without interfering with ongoing activities on deck.

Understanding these essential parts of a yacht deck empowers you not only to appreciate their functionality but also ensures that you make informed decisions while onboard. Whether you’re planning a leisurely cruise or embarking on an exciting charter experience, having a comprehensive understanding of your yacht’s deck will undoubtedly enhance your enjoyment and safety during each voyage.

So next time you step aboard a luxurious vessel and step onto its impressive deck, take a moment to appreciate each part’s purpose — knowing that behind every exquisite detail lies function and finesse working in harmony to create unforgettable seafaring experiences

How to Identify and Maintain the Various Components of a Yacht Deck

Owning a yacht is a dream for many, and ensuring its components are properly identified and maintained is crucial not only for optimal performance but also for maintaining its value. The deck of a yacht plays an integral role in its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Therefore, it’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the various components that make up the deck and how to maintain them.

1. Teak Decking: Elegant and Timeless One of the most iconic features on a yacht deck is teak decking. Renowned for its elegance, durability, and natural non-slip properties, teak decking requires regular maintenance to keep it looking pristine. Begin by cleaning the teak with fresh water to remove any salt or debris accumulated during your voyages. To maintain its golden luster, periodic scrubbing using mild soap or specialized teak cleaners is recommended. After scrubbing, rinse thoroughly to ensure no residue remains on the surface.

Additionally, consider applying protective coatings such as teak oils or sealants to safeguard against UV damage and prevent discoloration caused by exposure to sunlight over time. This will help retain the luxurious appearance of your teak decking while prolonging its lifespan.

2. Stainless Steel Hardware: Slick and Resilient Stainless steel hardware gives yacht decks a sleek look while offering exceptional strength and corrosion resistance. While stainless steel is highly durable, regular maintenance ensures it remains pristine for years to come.

Begin by inspecting all stainless steel fittings such as hinges, cleats, handrails, and stanchions for signs of rust or corrosion regularly. If any issues arise, promptly address them by removing the affected hardware and using rust removers or specialized stainless steel cleaners to restore their original shine.

To prevent future corrosion, apply protective coatings such as metal polishes or waxes specifically designed for stainless steel surfaces. These coatings create an invisible barrier that repels moisture while preserving the metal’s sleek appearance.

3. Non-Slip Surfaces: Safety First Safety should always be a top priority on a yacht deck , and non-slip surfaces play a vital role in preventing accidents. These anti-skid surfaces are often made of materials like rubber or textured paint. Keeping them well-maintained ensures optimal grip and performance .

Regularly inspect these areas for signs of wear or damage, as they can deteriorate over time due to constant foot traffic and exposure to harsh marine conditions. If you notice any uneven or worn spots, promptly address them by repainting or replacing the affected areas.

Remember to clean these surfaces regularly using mild soap or specialized non-slip cleaners. Avoid using abrasive cleaners that may degrade the texture and reduce their gripping capabilities.

4. Fiberglass Decking: Lightweight and Versatile Fiberglass decking has gained popularity in recent years due to its lightweight nature and versatility in design options. Maintaining fiberglass decks requires regular cleaning, polishing, and careful inspection for cracks or structural damages.

To clean fiberglass surfaces, use gentle soaps or purpose-made fiberglass cleaners along with soft brushes or sponges to avoid scratching the gel coat finish. Regular waxing with specialized marine wax helps protect the surface from UV damage while providing a glossy appearance that enhances the overall aesthetics.

Inspect the entire surface carefully, paying particular attention to stress points such as corners and edges where cracks may develop over time. Promptly repair any damages found using appropriate techniques such as epoxy resin application or seeking professional assistance when necessary.

Embrace the Pride of Ownership through Proper Maintenance Owning a yacht brings immense joy and satisfaction but also responsibility towards its care and maintenance. By understanding the various components of your yacht’s deck and implementing regular maintenance routines tailored to each specific material type, you’ll not only ensure its longevity but also enhance its visual appeal while cruising effortlessly across sparkling waters. Remember, investing time into maintaining your yacht’s deck is an investment in both its future and your pride of ownership.

Exploring the Step-by-Step Breakdown of Different Parts on a Yacht Deck

Title: Unveiling the Intricacies of a Yacht Deck: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction: When it comes to luxury and style, few things can compare to a yacht. From cruising along crystal-clear waters to indulging in the sun-soaked ambiance, every moment spent on a yacht is an experience like no other. But have you ever wondered what lies beneath your feet as you embark on this lavish adventure ? Join us as we unravel the step-by-step breakdown of different parts on a yacht deck, giving you insights into the inner workings of these remarkable vessels.

1. The Bow: Let’s start our journey at the front of the yacht, known as the bow. This majestic area is where elegance and functionality intersect seamlessly. Extending forward from the vessel’s main structure, it provides ample space for sunbathing or simply relishing breathtaking views as you cut through the waves. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the bow also serves practical purposes such as housing anchor controls and storage compartments.

2. The Foredeck: Leaving the bow behind, we move towards another essential part: the foredeck. This expansive area plays multiple roles – be it accommodating water toys or serving as a helipad for those seeking grandeur from above. With reinforced structural integrity and strategically placed fittings, this part ensures utmost safety while maximizing pleasure during outdoor activities.

3. Main Deck: As we venture further aft on our deck exploration, we reach perhaps one of the most prominent sections – the main deck. Spanning considerable length and breadth, it provides an extensive canvas for dining areas with luxurious seating arrangements, alfresco lounges adorned with plush cushions, and even infinity pools that seamlessly merge with stunning seascapes.

4. Companionways: Moving below decks but not forgetting their significance in our breakdown are companionways – staircases connecting various levels of a yacht. Designed thoughtfully to optimize accessibility without compromising aesthetics, these passageways exude opulence through the use of exquisite materials such as polished wood or gleaming metal, creating a sense of timeless elegance.

5. Upper Deck: Now let’s ascend to a higher level – the upper deck. Often associated with panoramic vistas and sophisticated entertainment options, this space offers an elevated experience for socializing and relaxation. From fully-equipped bars where mixologists craft delectable cocktails to outdoor cinemas that transform starlit nights into unforgettable movie experiences, the upper deck epitomizes refined opulence.

6. Sun Decks: Prepare to be dazzled as we explore the sun decks – premier spots on yachts customized for ultimate leisure and pleasure. Featuring everything from jacuzzis, tanning beds, and luxurious loungers to fully equipped outdoor gyms, these decks are meticulously designed to cater to guests seeking both tranquility and exhilaration under the generous embrace of the sun.

Conclusion: As our journey comes to an end, we hope you now have a deeper understanding of the various parts that make up a yacht deck. From the bow that sets sail towards endless horizons, through companionways connecting spaces with eloquence, all the way up to sun-drenched decks enticing you into moments of pure bliss – each element harmoniously blends functionality with unparalleled luxury. So next time you step foot on a yacht deck, take a moment to appreciate not only its beauty but also the intricate craftsmanship that goes into creating these floating marvels where dreams forever find solace.

Frequently Asked Questions: All You Need to Know About Parts of a Yacht Deck

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions section, where we aim to provide you with all the information you need to know about the various parts of a yacht deck. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just starting your adventure on the open seas, understanding the components of a yacht deck is crucial for your safety and enjoyment. So, let’s dive in!

1. Bow: Starting at the front of the yacht, the bow is the pointed part that cuts through water . It’s important to familiarize yourself with this area as it plays a role in anchoring and docking maneuvers.

2. Cockpit: Moving towards the middle of the vessel, we encounter the cockpit – often referred to as the heart of any yacht. This is where navigation controls are located, allowing you to steer and control your vessel efficiently.

3. Helm Station: Located within the cockpit, the helm station houses all essential instruments for steering and navigating your yacht safely . From steering wheels or joysticks to electronic displays providing vital information such as speed and depth measurements – this area ensures smooth sailing .

4. Deck Hatches: These are openings on your yacht’s deck that allow access below decks while also providing ventilation and natural lighting for cabins and other interior spaces. Be cautious when opening and closing hatches to avoid any accidents.

5. Stanchions and Lifelines: Safety should always be a top priority at sea, which is why stanchions (upright posts) with accompanying lifelines are installed around most yacht decks . These prevent accidental falls overboard , acting as a physical barrier between you and potential danger.

6. Cleats: These metal fittings are found along both sides of a yacht’s deck used for securing lines and ropes during docking or anchoring procedures. They play an essential role in keeping your vessel in place when necessary.

7. Toe Rail: Running along both sides of a yacht’s deck edge, toe rails serve multiple purposes – acting as footholds for crew members, providing additional security during maneuvers, and also preventing water from spilling onto the deck.

8. Windlass: Located at the front of your yacht near the bow, a windlass is a mechanical device used to control anchor deployment and retrieval. It makes anchoring your vessel much easier and more efficient.

9. Scuppers: Found at various points on the deck, scuppers are small drainage holes that prevent water from accumulating on the deck surface. It’s important to keep these clear to ensure proper water drainage during rough weather conditions.

10. Bimini Top: For those seeking shelter from the sun or light rain showers while on their yacht, a bimini top provides excellent protection. These fabric canopies extend over part of the cockpit or helm station area and can be folded away when not needed.

Knowing these essential parts of a yacht deck will enhance your overall sailing experience while keeping you safe onboard. We hope this comprehensive overview has provided you with valuable insights into each component’s purpose and functionality. So why wait? Set sail, explore new horizons, and enjoy your time on the open seas !

Navigating the World of Yacht Decks: Unraveling Common Queries about Different Parts

Welcome aboard the vibrant world of yacht decks! As you embark on this exhilarating journey, it’s important to navigate through the vast array of options and understand the intricacies of different parts . In this blog post, we will unravel common queries and provide detailed explanations about various components that make up a yacht deck.

1. Teak Decking: The Jewel in Yachting’s Crown Teak decking is often considered the epitome of luxury and elegance in the yachting industry. Crafted from durable teak wood, it dazzles with its warm honey-brown hue and exquisite grain patterns. Renowned for its unique non-slip properties, teak decking ensures safety while exuding timeless beauty.

2. Synthetic Teak: Embracing Innovation without Sacrificing Beauty In recent years, synthetic teak has emerged as a popular alternative to traditional teak decking. Made from high-quality PVC materials, synthetic teak mimics the appearance of real teak flawlessly while providing superior resistance to wear and weather conditions . Its low maintenance requirements and customizable design options have garnered attention among modern yacht enthusiasts.

3. Cork Decking: Nature’s Silent Co-star Cork decking offers a delightful blend of eco-friendliness and aesthetic appeal. Sourced from sustainable cork oak trees, cork decks provide excellent insulation properties while reducing noise levels aboard your yacht. With its distinct visual texture and tactile sensation underfoot, cork decking adds a touch of sophistication to any vessel.

4. EVA Foam Flooring: Comfort Meets Style If ultimate comfort is what you seek, look no further than EVA foam flooring for your yacht deck. Known for its cushioning effect, this closed-cell foam not only provides exceptional shock absorption but also reduces fatigue during long hours at sea. Available in an extensive range of colors and patterns, EVA foam allows for creative customization without compromising on durability.

5. Safety at Sea: Non-Slip Decking Solutions A primary concern for every yacht owner is the safety of all onboard. Fortunately, various non-slip decking solutions are available to address this issue. From specialized grip paint to innovative anti-slip tapes, these options ensure secure footing even in harsh weather conditions, granting peace of mind to both seasoned sailors and first-time yacht enthusiasts.

6. Maintenance Tips: Preserving the Splendor To keep your yacht deck looking pristine, regular maintenance is crucial. Regardless of the material you choose, routine cleaning and proper upkeep will protect its longevity. It’s recommended to use gentle, non-abrasive cleansers specifically designed for marine applications. Additionally, investing in protective covers or mats when necessary can prevent unnecessary wear and tear over time.

7. Beyond Yacht Decks: Exploring Additional Outdoor Spaces While the focus has been on yacht decks thus far, it’s important not to overlook other outdoor spaces onboard that contribute to an enhanced yachting experience . From stylish balconies and luxurious sunbathing areas to stunning swimming pools and expansive helipads, these additional spaces further elevate the overall opulence and functionality of a yacht.

So there you have it – a comprehensive guide through the thrilling world of yacht decks! Armed with knowledge about different parts and their unique features, you can make informed decisions when customizing your dream vessel’s deck. May your yachting adventures be filled with endless beauty, comfort, and safety as you traverse the vast seas with style!

Mastering the Anatomy of a Yacht’s Exterior: Exploring Key Features on the Deck

When it comes to yachting, understanding the intricate details of a yacht’s exterior is key to fully appreciating its luxury and functionality. While there are numerous elements that contribute to the overall design and performance of a yacht, in this article we will focus on exploring the key features found on the deck – arguably one of the most important areas where both aesthetics and practicality collide.

Firstly, let’s talk about one of the most prominent features: the bow. As a focal point that captivates attention both at sea and in port, the bow sets the tone for the entire vessel. From sleek and minimalist designs to more extravagant embellishments, yacht bows can vary greatly depending on personal preference and style. It’s not uncommon to find comfortable seating or spacious sunpads at this prime location—perfect for enjoying breathtaking views while cruising through azure waters.

Moving towards the aft section of a yacht’s deck, you’ll discover another crucial component known as the cockpit. This well-designed area serves as a central hub for outdoor activities, socializing, and entertainment. Equipped with comfortable seating arrangements, dining tables, wet bars, and even jacuzzis on larger yachts—a lively atmosphere can be created to suit any occasion.

Continuing our exploration along the deck side rails, we encounter cleverly incorporated storage spaces where various water toys such as jet skis or paddleboards can be securely stowed away. These compartments not only maintain a clean and organized appearance but also provide easy access for quick deployment when desired aquatic adventures beckon.

One cannot overlook another vital feature found throughout a yacht’s exterior: handrails. Not only do they serve as safety devices aiding in movement around the vessel but they are also meticulously designed to seamlessly blend with the overall aesthetic. Manufactured using high-quality materials like stainless steel or polished teakwood, these handrails embody elegance without compromising functionality—an essential aspect of any well-mastered yacht design.

As we venture further aft, the stern of a yacht reveals the laudable effort invested in engineering and innovation. The swim platform—a modern-day luxury on many yachts—extends beyond traditional hull design, creating an inviting space for water enthusiasts to easily access and relish in aquatic activities. Whether it’s swimming, snorkeling or simply diving into crystal-clear seas, this platform enhances the overall experience of being at sea.

Lastly, no discussion on a yacht’s exterior would be complete without mentioning its navigational equipment. From sleek radar domes to state-of-the-art GPS systems and satellite communication devices, these technological marvels ensure a safe voyage while seamlessly integrating with the yacht ‘s exterior design. Manufacturers strive to strike a balance between functional efficiency and aesthetic appeal so that these vital components never disrupt the beauty of the vessel.

In conclusion, understanding the anatomy of a yacht’s exterior is an art form that commands meticulous attention to detail. From bow to stern, every element serves both practical purposes as well as adding to the overall allure and sophistication of these floating masterpieces. So next time you find yourself aboard a yacht, take a moment to appreciate the craftmanship and clever engineering that lies beneath its stunning exterior—and let it transport you into a world where luxury meets adventure on every deck.

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Rebedding Sailboat Deck Hardware

  • By Steve D'Antonio
  • Updated: April 16, 2020

Let’s look at the matter of bedding deck hardware from the simplest way ­possible: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been dripped on while lying in a berth. Because it’s both ­annoying and completely avoidable, it’s doubly frustrating. Of course, there are plenty of other very ­important reasons for keeping leaks from developing, including maintaining the integrity of the decks through which they pass. Follow these steps to keep the water on the right side of the cabin and decks.

Bedding Compounds

Bedding compound, also referred to as sealant or caulk, serves as a flexible gasket of sorts between deck ­hardware—from cleats, stanchion bases, chainplates and sail tracks to pedestals, pulpits, winches and clutches. The bedding you select should be easy to apply, long-lasting and elastic. Its primary use, when sealing hardware, is as a gap filler, with the aim of preventing water from passing between the hardware and deck/cabin surface. Options include polyurethane, polysulfide and silicone. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Polyurethane is by far the most popular bedding compound, starting decades ago with the introduction of 3M’s now ubiquitous 5200. Originally developed for use with timber hulls, it has all the attributes one could ask for in a sealing formula—and then some. With some ­exceptions, PU sealants are also adhesives, which can make hardware removal a chore and even destructive in some cases. It can be affected by some teak and other cleaners, as well as fuel. Unless otherwise noted, many PU sealants lack UV stability, although that’s less of an issue where the sealant is primarily protected from the sun’s rays by the hardware. If it’s employed in an application where an exposed radius is necessary, make certain the sealant that’s used includes a UV inhibitor.

Polysulfide is an unsung hero among bedding compounds and my personal preference. Unlike PU, it is not an adhesive; its mission is to seal, and it does so very well, filling gaps readily while remaining resilient and flexible for many years, if not decades. It’s also UV-stable and immune to most harsh chemicals and fuel.

For years, silicone has been considered taboo by boatyards, builders and yards, although not because of performance issues. The aversion is due to its side effects. Unlike PU and PS, which can be painted—though it’s not recommended—SI will not accept paint; in fact, it repels it, and therein lies the problem. The slightest SI ­residue contaminating any surface that might ever be painted or varnished will drive coating applicators crazy with “islands” of paint/varnish rejection. These are known as “fish eyes” because of their oblong shape, and they can remain present for years.

In spite of that liability, SI remains a very credible and reliable bedding compound, one that is flexible and long-lasting, and it’s available in several colors too. I have successfully used SI in boatbuilding applications, specifically for aluminum-frame hatch installations, where no other compound could be made to work reliably for the long term. Furthermore, manufacturers of some plastic components (such as access and inspection ports) specifically prohibit the use of PU sealants, leaving PS and SI as the only viable options. If you opt for SI, remember the paint/varnish incompatibility issue, to mask carefully, use rubber gloves and not touch varnished surfaces while ­working with it.

As with paint and varnish ­application, preparation is vitally important where bedding is concerned. In many cases of bedding failures, especially those that occur shortly after installation, they are the result of improper or incomplete preparation (or no prep work whatsoever). Based on tests I’ve conducted, virtually all deck hardware—whether stainless, aluminum or even plastic—is contaminated with waxes or oils, and this includes the fasteners used to secure this hardware.

Here’s why: When boatbuilders and repair pros want to prevent fiberglass resin from adhering to something (like molds or hardware), they apply wax to those surfaces, which acts as an effective release agent. When metallic hardware is finished or polished, it’s often coated (i.e., contaminated) with polishing wax or cutting oil, which has the same effect; this includes factory-fresh components straight out of the box.

If you are skeptical about this, conduct this test: Wet a clean white rag with mineral spirits, and then wipe down a new piece of hardware or fastener, nut or bolt. (For bedding prep, “clean” means the rag has been rinsed in hot water, wrung out and then allowed to dry. Doing so removes contaminants such as detergent residue, surfactants and scents from even new rags.) The gray or black shading that will almost certainly appear on the rag is your residue, and it will hinder the adhesion of any bedding compound, regardless of its chemical composition.

Holes drilled in ­fiberglass and timber substrates, through which fasteners are to be installed to secure hardware, should have their edges chamfered. The recess created by this practice will allow a “reservoir” of sealant to accumulate here, creating an O-ring of sorts, thereby improving sealing ability.

There are plenty of good reasons to prevent leaks from developing, ­including maintaining the integrity of the decks.

Surfaces that are to be bedded must be scrupulously clean and free of all contamination. If remnants of previous bedding or loose paint are present, the surface should be cleaned with a putty knife or gasket scraper. While it’s acceptable to bed over glass-smooth surfaces, slightly profiling the surface with 180-grit sandpaper will provide a “tooth” to which bedding can adhere; this goes for gelcoat, fiberglass, polished stainless steel and aluminum. The surface should be cleaned, and dewaxed/de-oiled, before sanding to avoid grinding contaminants into the surface.

Using clean, pre-rinsed rags, wipe down all hardware, fasteners and surfaces that are to receive bedding with a solvent (I prefer mineral spirits). As rags become discolored, they should be replaced so as to avoid distributing, rather than removing, any contaminants. I eschew the use of harsher chemicals, such as ­denatured alcohol and acetone, as unnecessary overkill; mineral spirits are friendlier to users (you should wear chemical-­resistant rubber gloves and eye protection) and will emulsify and remove oils, waxes and most other contaminants without harming most plastic, paint, varnish or cured caulk—­provided it is not left in contact for an extended period (i.e., never leave a solvent-soaked rag on any painted or varnished surface).

Depending on the location, you may choose to mask the perimeter of the hardware footprint to minimize cleanup; this is particularly true on teak or nonskid.


Once the surfaces are clean and prepared for application of sealant, make certain you do not touch them with your bare hands (or soiled gloves) because even oil from fingers can contaminate these surfaces.

Sealant should be applied uniformly to the entire hardware surface, not just around fastener penetrations. Don’t skimp. The goal is to achieve what’s known as “squeeze-out,” which is a bead of sealant pressed out from under the hardware as it’s set onto the mounting surface. Fastener shanks, as well as the underside of heads, should also be coated in sealant.

No sealant, however, should be applied to backing plates, washers, nuts, etc. that are installed on the underside of the deck/cabin. The reason for leaving these unsealed is to ensure water is not trapped in the fastener bore holes. If water is trapped here, it can lead to two undesirable side effects: 1. For stainless steel fasteners, it establishes the ideal environment for crevice corrosion. 2. For cored composite structures (nearly every deck and cabin), even when properly closed out (more on this in a moment), standing water in this area only increases the likelihood of penetration into the core. If the weather-deck bedding fails, it’s better that it leak into the cabin—as an alert that it’s time to re-bed—than retain water and cause damage.

Once the hardware is set in place, evenly tighten the fasteners to achieve the aforementioned squeeze-out. Any place where squeeze-out is not achieved is an indication of a void or gap that might exist between the hardware and the bedding surface, a gap into which water can migrate and be retained. Even if this does not lead to a leak, water trapped by stainless steel nearly always leads to unsightly rust-colored “tea staining.”

Fasteners should be fully torqued at this point. The practice of leaving sealant to cure, before fully tightening, is not one to which I subscribe. Sealant, even when fully cured, is not designed to bear the heavy loads imparted by stanchions, cleats and tracks; it’s designed to fill irregularities and small gaps.

Initial removal of bulk sealant squeeze-out can be achieved using a putty knife and then solvent-soaked rags (be ready with a container or bag to dispose of these), one that is approved by the sealant manufacturer. Use of the incorrect solvent can inhibit the sealant from fully curing.

No discussion of hardware installation would be complete without mention of core closeout. In short, no penetration—in a cored composite deck, cabin or hull—should rely on sealant alone to keep water from migrating into the core, where it can wreak untold havoc. Instead, the core must be fully isolated from penetrations by a permanent annulus, and not just a paper-thin coating, but one made using fiberglass resin, or epoxy, and a reinforcing or thickening agent. This approach provides resistance to water penetration, as well as crushing, when through bolts are torqued.

Following these practices should keep hardware secure and the water on the deck, rather than your head.

Steve D’Antonio is a former boatyard manager who travels the world assisting clients with all manner of refits and technical issues ( ). He is also the author of CW ’s Monthly Maintenance column.

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sailboat deck hardware names

Mounting deck hardware

Attaching fittings properly isn't difficult and protects your boat for the long term.

At some point in its life, every boat will need a deck fitting replaced or will develop a leak that must be corrected. And while replacing deck hardware is not a complicated operation, doing it incorrectly can cause serious damage down the road. Install a fitting properly and you have a sturdy piece of hardware set for the long haul. Do it incorrectly and you face rotten core or compromised bulkheads.

Owners may choose to replace a fitting because they want to upgrade to something stronger and lighter or because they have concerns about the age of a piece of hardware. A few basic steps can achieve a good, long-lasting seal between a fitting and the deck. 

sailboat deck hardware names

Remove old hardware

The first step is to remove the hardware or fitting that will be replaced or rebedded. In most cases, removing fittings is not difficult as the sealant is often broken down enough to not put up too much of a fight. If the hardware was originally bedded with 3M 5200 adhesive sealant, you may have to go to drastic measures to remove the fitting. More on the best sealants to use later. 

Start by removing all of the nuts and bolts fastening the fitting to the deck, being careful, of course, not to lose any overboard. Then use a good metal putty knife with a one-inch blade that extends into the handle to gently pry under the fitting. Use a hammer to tap the putty knife between the hardware and the deck, working around the piece gradually until it breaks free. Do not use a chisel or screwdriver for this task as you risk damaging the deck and possibly the fitting. 

Whether you are replacing the hardware or mounting a new piece, it is important to thoroughly clean both the deck and hardware. The old sealant needs to be completely removed and the area should be degreased so that a good bond can take place between the sealant, deck and hardware. The putty knife comes in handy to scrape off as much of the old sealant as possible. Adhesive removers can manage the rest but need to be used with care as they can stain the gelcoat or paint. Tape around the area you’re working on to protect the paint and then use an adhesive remover to clean off the residue. 

sailboat deck hardware names

Repair and seal

With the deck hardware removed, it’s a good opportunity to check on what’s lurking underneath. Check for wet or rotten core by using a screwdriver to feel around in the bolt holes or take a sounding by gently tapping and listening for changes in pitch. If you find a problem with the core, or the deck is damaged in the removal process, assess the best way to fix the issue and do that before moving on. Making those repairs is vital to the soundness of the boat.

Assuming that the deck and core are still in good shape, it’s a good idea to seal the core with epoxy to prevent any future leaks from soaking into the core. Tape around the bolt holes to prevent any drips from causing a problem and put a piece of tape over the bottom of the hole from inside the boat. Using a two-part epoxy, work it into the hole and paint it on the core with a small paintbrush or acid brush, coating the exposed core and allow the epoxy to cure.

If you are replacing the deck fitting with a new one with a different hole pattern you will need to fill the existing holes. To do this, dig out some of the core surrounding the bolt hole using a screwdriver, allen wrench or other sturdy tool. After cleaning out all the removed core with a vacuum, tape off the bottom of the hole then inject thickened epoxy from the top using a syringe, filling the hole from the bottom first and backing the syringe out as the hole fills to prevent any air bubbles (Figure 1). If you found a small amount of wet core around the bolts but are rebedding the same fitting, remove the damaged core and fill with thickened epoxy as described above. Once the epoxy is cured, you can clean up the hole with a drill. 

sailboat deck hardware names

Drill new holes

If you are mounting a new piece of hardware, the hardware should come with a bolt hole template that is to scale. Place the template on the deck in the location you want and with a center punch, mark the hole centers on the deck. Once the hole locations are determined, drill a pilot hole all the way through the deck, being very careful to keep the drill perpendicular to the deck, which is not necessarily level. The next step is to drill the hole to the size that will match the bolt. To prevent the paint or gelcoat from chipping, run the drill backwards until you have a countersunk hole the size of the drill bit tip. Then drill the hole, maintaining the perpendicular angle to the deck. Run the drill about three-quarters of the way through the deck and then drill from the other side, again running the drill backwards at first to prevent chipping.

Backing plates

Do not underestimate the importance of backing plates when installing deck hardware. They can be as simple as using fender washers to disperse the load or as significant as aluminum plates or Garolite—compressed fiberglass sheets—cut to fit. Some applications, such as jib tracks, require channels or square stock for proper backing. The backing plate best suited for each piece of deck hardware depends on its usage, loads and deck construction. If you have a fitting that is prone to leaking, chances are that a deck issue, such as a wet core, or the lack of a proper backing plate are to blame. 

Once all the holes are drilled and the backing plate fabricated, it is a good idea to dry fit everything to ensure good alignment before you introduce a sealant into the mix. If there is any adjustment to do, now is the time to take care of that. To help in the cleanup of sealant after your final mounting, tape over the entire area, including where the piece of hardware will be mounted. When the piece of hardware is down during the dry fit process, cut around the piece with a sharp razor knife, being careful to only cut the tape and not the paint or gelcoat under the tape. When you remove the part, you can then remove the tape that was under the fixture leaving the rest of the tape in place. 

Final mounting

Once you have all the parts necessary to mount the hardware and you have checked that everything fits, it is time to put the part down for the final time. Put the bolts into the fitting and put tape over the heads to keep them in place (Figure 2). Then spread a thin layer of sealant on the underside of the fitting using the putty knife. By putting the bolts in this way, it keeps the end of the threads clean as they go through the holes, making putting the nuts on a lot easier. Once the sealant is on, put the part into place, go below and put the backing plate on and tighten the bolts. 

Sealant choices

There are a number of options for sealants and adhesives on the market. Look for something that is UV stable, long lasting and made for a marine application, such as 3M Fast Cure 4000 UV. It’s important to avoid adhesives that have more holding power than is necessary. The main function of the sealant when bedding hardware is to seal out water leakage; the bolts do the lion’s share of the holding. Products like 3M’s 4200 and 5200 (sometimes referred to as “52 million”) have more adhesion than you need and when it comes time to remove or rebed a part it will be nearly impossible to get them off the deck without causing damage. There are other good sealant options, so use what works best for the project.

Cleaning up

Cleaning up after you have bolted down the part is just as important as resealing the part in the first place. Not only does it look good to have all the excess sealant cleaned up but it also prevents degradation of the sealant. 

Whether you have taped around the part as described earlier or not, the first step is to remove as much of the excess sealant as possible with a putty knife. After that you can easily wipe up the rest with a rag and adhesive cleaner, again being mindful of the paint when using cleaners.

Allow the sealant on the newly bedded fixture to cure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually about a day in optimal temperature and humidity conditions, before putting the fitting under any kind of load. With your deck hardware properly mounted you can rest assured that it will serve you and your boat well for years to come.

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sailboat deck hardware names


Parts of a Sailboat

Parts of a Sailboat | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

September 28, 2022

Sailboats share many parts with other boats, such as keels, decks, and sometimes engines. But parts like halyards, sheets, and blocks are unique to sailboats.

Sailboats require four main parts to operate: a hull, mast, sail, and rudder. The hull is the body of the boat, and all other parts are directly or indirectly connected to it. The mast is a long pole that serves as a guide and mounting point for the sail. The sail catches the wind and propels the boat, and the rudder directs the boat and acts as its steering.

Here are all the main parts of a typical cruising sailboat , including hardware, lines, controls, cabin items, and a rundown of common sailing terminology.

Table of contents

Port, Starboard, Bow, Stem, and Stern

Before we get into the parts of a sailboat, let’s get a handle on sailboat direction. The bow of the boat is the front (forward), and the stern is the rear (aft). The stem is the forward-most part of the bow and determines its shape. These words describe the general area of front and back.

When determining port and starboard, picture looking down on the boat with the bow oriented forward. The port side is the left side of the boat, and the starboard is the right side. Now picture yourself at the controls of your boat.

If your lookout sees an obstacle off the port bow, which direction should you look? That’s right—the obstacle is forward and to the left of you. Now, we’ll go over the basic parts of a sailboat.

Basic Parts of a Sailboat

What are the basic parts of a sailboat? These are items that are essential to the operation of the boat and universal across most sailing craft. Every sailor should know where these parts are and what they do. Here are nine fundamental sailboat parts, their function, and why they’re important.

The hull is the ‘boat’ itself. It comprises the frame of the boat, the skin that keeps the water out and serves as the mounting point for everything else on the boat (both directly and indirectly). Simply put, if you punch a hole in the hull, water will come into the boat. Sailboat hulls are constructed most commonly out of fiberglass or hardwood (such as white oak), but some boat hulls are made out of aluminum, steel, and even a material called ferrocement.

The deck is the platform that covers the hull. It’s the place where you walk when you’re not inside the boat. Most people would consider the deck as any place ‘on top’ of the hull. The deck serves as a mounting point for essential boat hardware such as the mast and winches. We’ll get into those later; just think of the deck as the visible top area of the vessel. Decks are often made of fiberglass as well, but traditional boats use teak wood planking in this area. You’ll often find abrasive anti-slip material on the deck, as sailors often walk across it in wet conditions.

The keel is the structural backbone of the boat. It’s located in the bottom of the hull and serves as a sort of ‘spine’ to which all frame members are mounted during construction. The keel is an essential part of the boat and cannot be broken or damaged. You’ll often hear the term ‘keelboat’ in the sailing community. This word describes a sailboat with a long and deep keel, which is like a thin fin that runs the length of the hull. Keelboats are seaworthy vessels, as the elongated hull adds stability and keeps the boat on a straight track.


Many sailboats don’t have a long, deep keel, but they still need some sort of fin to keep the boat tracking straight. To substitute a long keel, many boats utilize a dagger-like board called a centerboard . This plate protrudes underneath the center of the boat, usually between one and three feet below the bottom of the hull. Centerboards are often retractable, which is great for towing and beaching. Centerboards are most common on small sailboats designed for inland or coastal cruising.

The cockpit is usually located in the rear of the boat. It features seating for the crew and controls for the steering, sails, and engine. The cockpit is the command center of the sailboat and often features storage lockers under the seats. Many cockpits are self-draining, which means they’re located above the water line and clear themselves of water accumulation. Some sailboats have enclosed cockpits for off-shore sailing. In a typical cruising sailboat , the cockpit usually takes up ⅓ of the total length of the boat or less.

The mast is the big pole extending from the deck of the sailboat. It connects the sail to the boat and serves as a frame for all sails carried by the vessel. The mast is a key part of the sail plan and helps determine what kind of boat you’re looking at. Most sailboats have just one mast, but others have numerous masts. A schooner, for example, has two masts and a specific sail plan. A yawl also has two, but each mast serves a separate function.

The rudder steers the boat and is located on or under the stern of the vessel. Rudders are an essential part of the boat, and they’re particularly sensitive to impact or misalignment. On some boats, the rudder is completely invisible when in the water. Other boats have retractable rudders for beaching or towing. Fundamentally, a rudder is just a plate that’s hinged to move side to side. It’s connected to the tiller or the helm, which we’ll cover in a bit.

The sail is what propels the boat, and most boats have more than one. The aft (rear) sail on a single-masted boat is called the mainsail , and it’s the largest of the two primary sails. The triangular forward (front) sail is called the jib, and it’s generally smaller than the mainsail. Other sails include the spinnaker, which is like a loosely-mounted parachute that flies in front of the boat during conditions of low wind.

The boom is a hinged rod that extends perpendicular to the mast. It’s mounted on the lower part of the mast, and it controls the side-to-side position of the mainsail. The best way to remember the boom is to consider what happens when it swings side to side. If you’re not paying attention, a swinging boom could give you a nice crack on the head. Think of the boom as the throttle of the boat. If you’re properly pointed relative to the wind, pulling in the boom will increase the speed of the boat. This is where the bottom of the sail connects to the mast. The boom is also connected to the deck and adjustable using a winch and a crank.

Here is some of the hardware you’ll find on a typical sailboat. These items are usually mounted to the hull, on the deck, or to the mast. Boat hardware consists of control systems and other items that are essential to the operation or integrity of the boat.

Cleats are the universal mounting points for ropes on the deck. Cleats are used for tying up to the dock, securing lines, and tethering important items that can’t fall overboard. There’s a special kind of knot called a ‘cleat knot,’ which is essential to learn before sailing. A properly tied cleat will stay secure in almost all conditions, and it’ll be easy to untie if the need arises. An important distinction must be made for clam cleats, which are spring-loaded sets of jaws that secure rigging lines that need to be adjusted frequently.

Block is a nautical word for a pulley. Blocks (pulleys) are everywhere on a sailboat, and they’re an essential part of the rigging system. Blocks distribute and regulate force. For example, a deck-mounted block can change the direction of a line from vertical to horizontal, allowing you to apply a horizontal force to lift something vertically. Blocks also reduce the force required to lift heavy loads and help make adjustments more precise.

Winches are cylindrical mechanical devices that transmit force. Winches are often located on either side of the boat. They’re multi-directional like a socket wrench and feature one-way locking mechanisms for raising, lowering, tightening, and loosening lines. Winches have a hole in the top for a crank, which makes it easy to wind rope in and out. Winches are present on almost every medium to large sailboat. They’re either manual or electrically-powered.

A hatch is a watertight or water-resistant door used to enter the cabin or storage compartment of a boat. Hatches can be flush with the deck and hinged, threaded like a large screw, or they can slide back and forth. The purpose of a hatch is to keep water out when closed and allow easy access to the interior parts of the boat.

Tiller and Helm

The tiller and helm are used to control the direction of the rudder and steer the boat. Usually, a boat has either a tiller or a helm. The tiller is the most basic steering control and consists of a simple rod connected to the rudder or rudder shaft. Tillers move side to side and point in the opposite direction that the boat steers. The helm is essentially a steering wheel, and it operates the same way that a car steering wheel does. The helm is connected to the rudder by complex mechanical or hydraulic linkage.

Mast and Sail Components

Mast and sail components are referred to as ‘rigging’ in most cases. These items are part of the wind-powered propulsion system of the boat. You’ll operate these systems to control the speed of the boat. Here are three common sail components that you’ll need to understand before hitting the water.

Stays are the lines that secure the mast to the boat. Usually, the mast is bolted or tied to the deck of the boat; but much of the load and pressure created by the wind is transferred to the stays. Stays are usually made of strong stainless steel cable. Losing a stay at sea is a serious problem, as these small cables keep the mast from collapsing.

Halyards are the ropes used to hoist and lower the sail on the mast. They also hoist flags, spars, and other components that need to be raised and lowered. Halyards are usually found on the mast and are fixed to cleats or winches around the boat.

Sheets and halyards are often confused, but they serve a very different function. Sheets are the control lines of the sail. These ropes control how far in or out the sail is, and they’re usually found connected to the jib (jib sheet) and the mainsail (mainsheet). Sheets are controlled by winches and blocks and secured onto cleats or clam cleats on the deck. Sheets can be controlled from the cockpit of the boat.

Navigation components are the parts of the sailboat used to find direction and alert other boats of your position. These four items aren’t the only navigation items found on sailboats, but they’re the most common.

This item should be self-explanatory, but it’s essential nonetheless. A compass is arguably the most basic and important marine navigation item. It shows you what direction you’re heading. Sailboat compasses are precise instruments designed to display an accurate heading no matter how much the boat rolls up and down or side to side. Compasses are usually mounted in the cockpit, in clear view of the captain.

Charts are old-fashioned navigational tools and indicate important information such as water depth and the location of ship channels. Learning to read and purchasing charts is essential, even in the age of modern GPS navigation. When all else fails, a chart can help guide you and your vessel to safety and away from hazardous areas. No electricity is required.

Navigation Lights

Navigation lights are mandatory beacons located around the boat. These lights help other boats figure out where you are and where you’re going. Sailboats are required to have red and green bow lights. Red indicates port, and green indicates starboard. This is how boats determine if they’re looking at your bow or stern. Other lights, such as a white stern light, a mast light, are also necessary during specific circumstances. Check your state requirements for lighting.

VHF radios are the standard marine over-the-air communication system. You can use a VHF radio to communicate with the coast guard, other boats, harbors, towing services, and drawbridges. It’s important to learn and write down the specific channels and call signs for each situation, as you need to be able to properly communicate on the radio.

The cabin is the ‘below decks’ area of the sailboat and usually contains living quarters for the captain and crew. Not all boats have cabins, and cabin size varies widely. Some sailboats have rudimentary cabins with basic sleeping accommodations and sitting headroom. Other boats have full standing headroom, shower and wash facilities, full-size kitchens, and separate staterooms for sleeping and sitting. The cabin is usually located forward of the cockpit. Here are some common sailboat parts located within the cabin.

The berth is the sleeping area of a boat. Berths are often convertible, which means they fold or rearrange into a table and seating area. There are numerous kinds of berths. The ‘V’ or ‘vee’ berth is a triangle-shaped sleeping area located in the bow of the boat. Side berths typically convert into couches or settees, and pole berths are essentially cots that roll up and stow away easily.

The bilge is the bottommost interior part of the boat. It’s usually located under the floor in the cabin. When water finds its way into the boat, it drains down to the bilge and gets pumped out by bilge pumps. Bilge pumps are an essential piece of hardware, as they keep the boat dry and prevent sinking. Some boats have a wet bilge, which means it’s always full of water (and supposed to be). Most boats have a dry bilge.

Portlights are watertight windows located in the upper part of the cabin. They can usually be opened or secured using threaded latches. Portlights are generally smaller than traditional portholes and offer a watertight barrier between the inside and outside of the cabin. They’re also useful for ventilation.

Gimballed Utilities

A gimbal is a special type of hinge that keeps an item vertical when the boat rolls. Oil lamps are commonly fitted to gimbals, so they stay upright when the boat bobs around. Stoves are also gimballed, which is extremely useful for cooking or boiling water when the weather gets rough.

Head is the nautical term for a toilet. Most medium-sized sailboats have compact wash facilities that sailors refer to as the ‘head,’ or a porta-potty at the bare minimum. A sailboat’s bathroom usually consists of a marine toilet, a sink, and often a shower with a drain in the floor.

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I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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Sailboat Blocks

At MAURIPRO Sailing we strive to be your ultimate source for sailboat hardware. Whether you are looking for Sailboat blocks, Boom Vangs, cam cleats, or other deck hardware, you can find it here. We offer technical assistance to help you outfit your boat with the right hardware to match your sailing needs.

Selecting Replacement Sailboat Hardware An important consideration when choosing new hardware for sailboats is the working loads that the hardware will be subjected to. It is best to get hardware that is in the middle of its recommended usage range and has at least the strength of any parts that it is replacing. When choosing blocks, deck organizers and other pieces of sailboat hardware that deflect lines important considerations include the size of the line and the load on the line. Consider what you liked about your boat's old hardware setup and what you are looking to change with new hardware for your sailboat. Blocks vary not only in sheave diameter but also in working load, so it is important to consider the load that you are exerting on your sailboat hardware blocks.

When shopping for replacement genoa cars, traveler cars, or other sailboat hardware that uses a track it is very important to determine the type of track that your boat has as different tracks and cars are not compatible. Both Harken and Lewmar make a track that makes variable hole spacing track so you can replace sailboat hardware that uses track without drilling new holes in your boat.

Sailboat Hardware for Cruising and Racing Whether you are racing or cruising, quality functional deck hardware will make your sailing experience more enjoyable. Racing sailors know how critical it is to have well-running blocks, powerful winches and cleats and clutches that hold well. Cruising sailors also benefit from having quality, durable sailboat hardware when making a long passage or entertaining guests during a sunset cruise. A common misconception is that only racers will benefit from modern lightweight sailboat hardware such as Harken Carbo Blocks, in fact, modern carbon blocks and other sailboat hardware benefit both races and cruisers by being stronger, lighter and longer-lasting. Cruisers and racers will also benefit from having well-organized deck hardware. Racers will benefit by having better boat handling and maneuvers and cruisers will benefit from setting their boat up with sailboat hardware that is geared towards making their boat easier to sail short-handed.

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Boat Diaries

Sailboat Parts Names: What Makes a Sailboat?

Centerboard, final takeaway.

Have you ever looked at boats and catch yourself with the realization of just how majestic they are? This awe is because of the many parts that makes up a sailboat. They come together and create an impressive transportation vehicle that not many of us will have a chance of owning. But can you identify the sailboat parts names just by looking at them? Even if you are an avid boat fan, you may still be confusing some of the terms with each other. Just know that identifying them isn’t that hard. You just have to know what to look for.

A hull, mast, sail, and rudder are the main requirements to build a sailboat. All the parts are connected directly and indirectly to the boat’s body, called the hull. The long pole that serves as a guide and mounting point for the sail are called the mast. We all know the purpose of the sail, right? It catches the wind and propels the boat, and the rudder acts as the steering and directs the boat.

The question though is why these requirements to build a sailboat are important? The following are essential parts of a sailboat and are universal components across most sailing craft. And as a sailor, you should know how important these parts are. 

Here are nine of the main sailboat parts names: 

sailboat deck hardware names

The deck is generally defined as any area  on top  of the hull. When you’re not inside the boat, this is where you typically go for a walk. The mast and winches are mounted on the deck, serving as a mounting point for other important boat hardware. For now, think of the deck as the vessel’s visible top area. Traditional boats use teak wood planking on their decks, often made of fiberglass. Because sailors frequently walk across the deck in wet conditions, abrasive anti-slip material is common. For some good action and steady performance, try cleaning and repairing your fiberglass with Bondo Fiberglass Resin Repair Kit.

sailboat deck hardware names

Even if a sailboat doesn’t have a long, deep keel, it still needs a fin to keep it tracking straight. Many boats use a dagger-like board called a centerboard to replace a lengthy keel. This plat protrudes from beneath the boat’s center, usually one to three feet below the hull’s bottom. Retractable centerboards are convenient for towing and beaching. Small sailboats designed for inland or coastal cruising are most likely to have centerboards.

sailboat deck hardware names

The mast is the large pole that extends from the sailboat’s deck. It functions as a frame for all sails carried by vessel and connects the sail to the boat. The mast is an important component of the sail plan because it determines the type of boat you’re looking at. The majority of sailboats have only one mast. However, others have multiple masts. For example, a schooner has two masts and a specific sail plan. A yawl has two masts as well, but each one serves a different purpose.

sailboat deck hardware names

The hull is the actual boat. It consists of the boat’s frame and the watertight skin that serves as a mounting point for everything else on board. Sailboat hulls are typically fiberglass or hardwood like white oak, but they can also be aluminum and steel.

sailboat deck hardware names

The keel is the boat’s structural backbone. The hull’s bottom acts as the spine of the boat to which all frame members are attached during construction. The keel is a critical boat component that must not be broken or damaged. In the sailing community, the term  keelboat  is frequently used. The lengthened hull increases stability and keeps the boat on a straight course, making keelboats seaworthy vessels.

sailboat deck hardware names

The cockpit of a boat is normally found near the back of the vessel. It has seating for the crew as well as the steering, sail, and engine controls. The cockpit serves as the sailboat’s command center and frequently includes storage bins beneath the seats. Many cockpits are self-draining, which means they’re above the water line and can drain water on their own. For off-shore sailing, some sailboats have enclosed cockpits. The cockpit of a normal cruising sailboat takes up about a third of the whole length of the boat, if not less.

sailboat deck hardware names

The sail propels the boat, and most boats have multiple sails. The mainsail is the aft sail on a single-masted boat, and it is the larger of the two principal sails. The jib is a triangular forward sail that is usually smaller than the mainsail. Spinnaker is another sail similar to a loosely-mounted parachute that flies in front of a boat during low-wind conditions.

sailboat deck hardware names

The rudder, which is placed on the vessel’s stern, steers the boat. Rudders are an important part of the boat, and they’re especially vulnerable to damage or misalignment. When in the water, the rudder on some boats is completely undetectable. For breaching or towing, other boats include retractable rudders. A rudder is just a hinged plate that moves from side to side.

sailboat deck hardware names

The boom is a perpendicularly extending hinged rod parallel to the mat. It’s placed on the lower section of the mast and regulates the mainsail’s side-to-side movement. A swinging boom could give you a terrific crack on the head if you’re not paying attention. Consider the boom to be the boat’s throttle. Pulling in the boom will improve the boat’s speed if you’re properly pointed relative to the wind. The bottom of the sail joins the mast at this point. Boom is likewise attached from the deck and may be adjusted with the help of a winch and crank.

In the 21st century, sailing is a form of recreation and sport. Sailboats today are for cruising and racing for pastime activities. You can also train yourself in some sail training using a sailboat and know their sailboat parts names. Determining all the sailboat parts names is also important to know their specific job and use. There are many things that a sailboat can do. It is up to you which activity to use yours with the different options available today.

For more boat building advice , check out MyBoatPlans ‘ Complete Boat Building Guide.

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From handrails, step-plates, cleats, chocks, steering products, rod holders, hatches, deck pipes, hawse pipes, antenna mounts and hose deck fills. We carry a full line of Deck Hardware.

Deck Fills

Marine deck fittings do everything from secure your boat to the dock like cleats and bollards, to securing your sails with cam cleats for every size line, to providing drainage and ventilation. Marine hardware is specifically manufactured from materials designed to weather the elements and stand up to heavy use. Boat deck hardware is hard working equipment, but if you want beauty and brawn you can have it with polished brass, aluminum, and quality stainless steel deck fittings.

Deck fittings like cleats and chocks come in all sizes and materials, they can be open based or closed, pop-ups to stow flush with the deck, bolt on or welded on. Boat deck hardware like chocks and hawse pipes protect your running gear and dock lines from chafing and keep your paint job scratch free. Deck hardware also includes dock steps and plates. Scuppers allow the water on deck and in your cockpit to pour overboard. Stainless steel railings and stanchions provide safety and security on deck while beautifying your boat by extending the clean lines you love. Deck fills and deck plates are watertight coverings that create an access hole through the deck or hull of the boat which allow the boat operator to access electronics, or tanks under the deck or hull. Another group of deck hardware products are deck paints and surface materials to help you keep a non-slip surface on the deck of your boat.

We carry a wide variety of boat hardware by top brands including Sea-Dog and Perko . Some marine hardware fittings even cross-over to the non-boating sector such as hand-rails and stainless steel tubing for banisters and the staircases. Deck fittings such as cleats are even used as decorative home elements such as dresser pulls or coat rack hangers. If you need help finding the right deck fittings or marine hardware, please contact us.

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Marine Hardware


Finding marine hardware that exactly matches your boats existing deck hardware can be challenging. As the OEM supplier to your Boat Builder we have the latches, hinges, cleats, deck fills and more to get you fixed up and back on the water! » Read More

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Learn More About Marine Hardware

  • 1. What is Marine Hardware?
  • 2. Marine Hardware Materials
  • 3. Marine Hardware Categories
  • 4. Marine-Grade Fasteners
  • 5. Sealing Your Deck Hardware
  • 6. Maintaining Marine Hardware

Our experience as the OEM supplier to 200+ boat builders means we have both the knowledge and exact marine hardware you need to finally fix that rattling hatch or rusting hinge! As the original manufacturer, we know which specific hinges, latches, etc. your boat builder has used over the years.

For a deeper dive into marine hardware, check out our learn section ! 

What is Marine Hardware?

Marine hardware is a broad but important topic. This hardware can consist of latches, hinges, gas shocks, rail fittings, and many other items, down to stainless steel screws. In many cases, it’s taken for granted. Read More

When working properly, you shouldn’t even notice it is there. It makes the use of your boat easier and more comfortable, but when it fails it can be inconvenient and dangerous.

In the case of a latch failing, it may be inconvenient to get in and out of that hatch or door. In the case of a through hull fitting failing, you may be relying on your bilge pumps to keep your boat afloat.

Marine Hardware Materials

Above-deck boat hardware can be subject to constant moisture and UV degradation. Below deck hardware does not fare much better. Your hardware must be made of materials that can tolerate this environment. Any material used in the marine industry should not corrode when soaked in saltwater, or crack when subjected to sunlight and cold temperatures. Read More

Typically there are a few options in materials when purchasing marine hardware, including stainless steel, anodized aluminum, zinc alloy, plated steel, and plastic. Stainless steel is by far the most popular option for marine use. Stainless is made to resist corrosion more so than normal steel. This is done by using chromium as the alloying element in stainless, versus carbon in mild steel.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel comes in different grades based on its chemical composition and corrosion resistance. For example, 316 stainless is more corrosion resistant than 304 due to the higher molybdenum and nickel levels in the alloy. 304 is still a commonly used grade of stainless steel in hardware, though, and has some properties that make it preferable to 316 for certain applications.

Aluminum is also a popular option but is usually anodized to stand up to the marine environment. In simple terms, anodizing is the process that thickens the natural oxide level on the surface of metal parts. It creates a layer of corrosion resistance. It can make the metal very difficult to weld, so keep that in mind while doing custom fabrication work.


Chrome-plated metals can work well for hardware as well. By plating a corrodible metal, the chrome plating blocks any water from reaching the corrodible material. This can work great in dry areas of the boat or light-duty applications, but if the chrome plating is chipped the base material could begin to corrode. Chrome plating can also provide different styles of finishing from shiny chrome to a satin finish.

Plastic can be a great option for many hardware items. Although not as strong as metal, it will not corrode and is far less expensive. Be sure to buy quality plastic parts, as plastic can be subject to UV degradation.

Marine Hardware Categories

Marine hardware comes in all shapes and sizes to meet all kinds of needs. Most, though, can be grouped into one of a few basic categories: Read More

Marine Latches

Latches are a large category within boating hardware. They range from flush and slam latches, to cam and draw latches, to barrel bolts, push button latches and cabin door latches. Their use dictates the material they’re made from usually. Heavy-duty latches should be stainless steel, while lighter-duty push-button latches can be plastic.

Each style of latch is designed for a specific function. Flush latches, also known as slam latches are perfect for access hatches, livewell hatches, and drawers. Cam latches are similar to flush latches, but unlike flush latches, they will not spring closed. This is advantageous when a hatch requires multiple latches. Push button latches are lighter duty, typically used for electronic box lids and glove boxes. Barrel bolts are used to secure swinging doors. Draw latches are used for hatches mounted on flush surfaces.

There are many types of specialty latches designed for one specific function as well. Another thing to consider is whether or not your latch needs to be locking or not. This is most often used for the push button latches, but some cam and flush mount latches have locking capabilities as well.

Marine Hinges

Hinges are another important category within marine hardware. The most common of the hinge types on boats is the butt hinge. These hinges are typically short and are used in sets of two or more. Piano hinges are long continuous hinges. Unlike butt hinges, which are short and used in sets, piano hinges range from six inches to six feet and are used one at a time.

For more of a streamlined and clean appearance, concealed hinges are not visible at all from the outside of the closed cabinet or door. This is most popular in the interior of a boat and is typically a lighter-duty application, like cabinetry.

There are also many types of specialty hinges. Some of these are built as replacements for popular production boats, while others are meant for custom build applications. The “friction hinge,” comes in every style of hinge previously listed. A friction hinge offers resistance towards the pivoting action, holding hatches open or slowing their close. This can be desirable when you don’t want hatches slamming closed. Like latches, hinges come in a few different materials. Stainless is the most desirable for heavy-duty applications, while plastic is useful for light-duty applications.

Gas Shocks/Struts

Another common type of boat hardware, gas shocks are a great amenity on some boats. They make lifting heavy hatches much easier by providing lift assistance against the hatch. This lift assistance can make a hundred-pound hatch feel as if it only weighs five pounds. Not only do they provide lift assistance, but they can also stop your hatches from slamming shut.

They’re very simple, containing only a connecting rod within a sealed cylinder of compressed gas. Despite this simplicity, they’re incredibly strong and useful. Gas shocks come in all different shapes and sizes, and it’s important to ensure they’re up to marine use standards. Because the seal tolerances are so fine, corrosion can render them useless.

Boat Cleats

Cleats are one of the most prominent pieces of marine deck hardware on a boat. They come in many different sizes depending on the size of your boat.

Cleats all have the same general shape but can have slightly different designs. Standard boat cleats are fixed in position and solid. These are common on larger vessels and docks. Pull-up and pop-up cleats both stow flush with the deck and can be pulled up or popped up when needed. They’re more expensive than standard cleats but make for a cleaner look and a cleaner gunwale. Fishermen prefer the pop-up cleat as there is less to get hung up on a fishing line or net.

Another type of cleat, cam cleats, can be used to hold a line at a specific point or tension. This is not to be used for docking but can be popular in sailing, and used to anchor small boats.

Like other kinds of marine hardware, cleats can be made with a few different materials. Stainless is by far the most common on boats. They’re strong, durable, and attractive. They can be expensive though, one of their few drawbacks. Aluminum and galvanized cleats are not as shiny or visually attractive as stainless, but they’re just as strong. They’re more frequently used on docks where looks are not deemed as important. Black nylon is another option. While an affordable option, they can still clean up nicely and can do their job well on smaller boats.

Marine-Grade Fasteners: Screws, Bolts, Nuts, Washers

Whether you’re installing a replacement or adding a custom accessory, it is important to do your installation with the proper marine fasteners. Read More

When mounting hinges, or anything for that matter, be sure your fasteners are a high grade of stainless steel. Using fasteners made out of corrodible materials will leave you with rust lines, and eventually broken fasteners.

There’s no point in paying for stainless hardware if you’re going to use cheap fasteners. In this case, quality is not worth skimping on. The price difference can be both negligible and costly in the long run.

Sealing Your Deck Hardware

Be sure to carefully seal any hull intrusion you make when mounting your hardware. Even the smallest intrusion can let in water, beginning the rot and delamination process. Use a high-quality, marine-grade sealant, not a household sealant. Read More

When possible, through bolting is preferable to screws alone as far as durability and strength are concerned. On load-bearing applications, screws can wear through the coring beneath, causing them to strip out.

On-deck hardware like hinges and cleats always “bed” the hardware in a quality marine sealant so that the hardware isn’t in direct contact with the boat itself. This prevents water from seeping in under the piece of hardware or around the fasteners and causing crevice corrosion, which can cause unsightly rust stains even with stainless steel.

Maintaining Marine Hardware

Now that you have all your marine hardware sorted out, it’s important to maintain it. Typically the maintenance is not complicated in the least bit. Read More

Be sure to rinse off all your hardware with fresh water as frequently as possible. Every so often, be sure to lubricate moving hardware on the boat. This will provide a minuscule barrier to protect against metal-on-metal movement and can protect against corrosion. Buying quality hardware and maintaining it can provide years of enjoyable boating.

If you’re having trouble finding the exact part you're looking for, the best first step is to take a picture and give us a call .

Our customer service team is here Mon-Fri 8am - 5pm and would love to help you track down the exact hardware you need.

sailboat deck hardware names

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Commonly Asked Marine Hardware Questions

You get what you pay for with hardware, as with most things. There is a huge variation in quality between cheap knock-offs widely available on Amazon, budget brand names like Sea Dog and Seachoice, and established brands like Gemlux. High-quality, marine-grade hardware costs more up-front but is more affordable in the long run. Shop various marine supply retailers for the best prices and service.

The gold standard for deck hardware like hinges, latches, cleats, and vents is generally considered to be Gemlux. Accon Marine is also known as a maker of top-quality, innovative deck hardware, especially low-profile cleats and Bimini top hardware. Taco Marine is another quality hardware manufacturer. Other established brands like Sea-Dog Line and Seachoice offer huge selections of price-point hardware.


My Cruiser Life Magazine

Illustrated Guide to Sailboat Parts [Updated 2023]

The lingo of sailing is baffling to many newcomers. While the actual sailing is pretty easy, it’s hard to wrap your mind around the bookwork when it seems like every little thing on a boat goes by its own nautical term. 

Here are a few names for parts of a sailboat that you might not have thought about before. For even more nautical word play, check out our complete guide to sailing terms .

sailboat parts

Parts of Sailboat Hulls

The boat’s hull is its main body. Most are made of fiberglass, but there are a few aluminum sailboat models out there too. Wood is more traditional but more difficult to maintain than these modern alternatives. Sailboat hulls are displacement hulls, which means they sit low in the water and move relatively slowly. The hull’s job is to displace water, so you stay afloat!

Bow The forward “pointy end” of the boat.

Stern The rear end of the boat.

Transom If the stern of a boat has a flat section, it is called the transom. (I wrote about it in detail here: What Is the Transom on a Boat )

Canoe Stern or Double-Ender Some boats lack a transom; instead, their stern comes to a point like a bow. This is a “double ender” or a canoe stern.

Port and Starboard Sides Port is the left side, and starboard is the right side. 

Freeboard This is the height of the sides of the boat above the water.

Deck The upper portion of the boat that you walk on. 

Sheer Sheer is the curve of the deck when viewed from the side. Some boats have none, and some boats have a lot. 

Cabin Coach Roof Most sailboats have a raised coach roof on top of the cabin area.

Bottom of a Sailboat – Keels and Things

There are tons of parts on a sailboat that you only ever see if it’s out of the water. Boats are hauled out at boatyards by giant cranes, or a special machine called a travel lift . 

Keel The boat’s keel is the underwater feature that counters the effects of wind pressure on the sails. It keeps the boat from tipping over, but it also keeps the boat going in a straight line as it moves through the water. If a boat has no keel, the wind will push it downwind. 

A keel is heavy–it is weighted with thousands of pounds of ballast (usually lead). So when someone refers to a “keelboat,” they mean that it is a big boat with a weighted keel built for cruising. The built-in weight of a keel keeps the boat from capsizing. Also, the water flow over the curved surface of the keel helps the boat sail into the wind.

Smaller boats with centerboards or daggerboards are on the opposite end of the spectrum from keelboats. These aren’t weighted and could tip over (capsize) in the wrong conditions.

Types of Keels

Full Keel A classic and time-tested design, full keel boats are favorites among passage-making and ocean-crossing cruisers. They’re stable and comfortable at sea and very safe. However, they have a reputation for being slow compared to more modern designs.

Modified Full Keel The modification is a cut-away forefoot. That means it looks like a full keel, but there isn’t as much keel up near the bow. This reduces the underwater “wetted surface area” and makes the design a little bit faster while preserving the other good things about full keel designs.

Fin Keel The fin keel looks like a shark’s fin pointed downward. Some are narrow and very deep, while others are longer and shallow. Fin keels are bolted to the bottom of an otherwise flat-looking hull design. The fin has a foil shape that creates a lifting force as water flows over it. In addition to its ballasted weight, this opposes the sails and leeway. Most modern sailboats have some version of a fin keel.

Bulb Keel The ballast should be placed as low as possible to lower the boat’s center of gravity. The bulb keel is a fin keel with a lead bulb added to the bottom. The bulb has an efficient shape, making it more efficient than just the fin alone.

Wing Keel Like a bulb, a wing keel works by adding more weight and hydrodynamic force to the bottom of the keel. As a result, the wings look like a little airplane mounted on the bottom of a fin keel. 

Swing Keel A swing keel is a fin that pivots up and into the boat, meaning that you can have a very shallow draft when you are docking or anchoring but also a very deep draft when you are sailing in open waters. This heavy keel requires a powerful and complicated electric or hydraulic-electric system. 

Lifting Keel A lifting keel is similar to a swing keel, only the keel lifts up into the hull vertically. 

Bilge Keels A bilge keel boat has two fin keels mounted at 45-degree angles below the hull. The advantage is that the boat can “dry out.” This makes them very popular in harbors around England, where the massive tidal range means that the harbor is only mud for half the day. 

Centerboard Centerboards look like swing keels, but the “keel” part is just a board. It isn’t weighted with lead or iron, so it doesn’t change the ballast of the boat any. They are often found on smaller sailboats like sailing dinghies, but there are also large cruising boats that have full keels or long-fin keels with centerboards, too. 

Daggerboard A daggerboard is like a centerboard, only it doesn’t swing. Instead, it goes straight up and down like a dagger into its sheath. They’re not only common on very small sailing dinghies but also large cruising catamarans.

Canting Keel Canting keels are some of the latest technology items in racing, so they aren’t found on cruising boats yet. They move from side to side, allowing the crew to precisely control the forces made by the keel.

Types of Rudders – What Steers a Sailboat

As with keels, you’ll see various types of rudders on sailboats. The rudder is one of the most critical parts of a sailboat’s equipment, so the differences in rudders are mostly about how protected it is from damage.

Rudder The rudder is the thing that steers the sailboat. It’s mounted on the back of the boat, sometimes looking a bit like a second keel. When the operator turns the steering wheel or tiller, it moves the rudder one way or the other. That, in turn, turns the yacht’s bow left or right. 

Transom-Hung Rudder The most basic type of rudder is hung on the transom. It’s usually controlled with a tiller instead of a wheel. You can see a transom-hung rudder above the water.

Keel-Mounted Rudder On a full keel boat, the rudder will be mounted on the back edge of the keel. This protects it completely from damage since anything the boat might hit will hit the keel first. 

Skeg-Mounted Rudder The rudder might be mounted to a skeg if a boat has a fin keel. A skeg is a small fixed surface that holds the rudder and supports it. In the case of a full skeg, it also protects the rudder as a full keel would.

Spade Rudder Spade rudders have no skeg, so the entire underwater surface moves when you turn the wheel. Most modern yachts have spade rudders because they are incredibly effective. They are easily damaged, however, which is why some offshore sailors still prefer skeg-hung rudders.

Bottom of Sail Boat – Running Gear

Running gear is the generic name given to all equipment under the boat that connects to the engine and moves the boat under power. It consists of the propeller, prop shaft, and supports. 

Propeller Also called the prop or screw, the prop is what converts the engine power into thrust. The water flow over its blades creates a pushing force that moves the boat. Since the sailboat doesn’t use the propeller when it is sailing, sailboats often have folding or feathering props that stop moving.

Prop Shaft The metal shaft that connects the engine to the propeller is called the prop shaft. 

Cutlass Bearing Where the prop shaft exits the hull, a rubber cutlass bearing keeps it centered and rotating freely. 

Saildrive A saildrive is a common arrangement on modern sailboats that uses a vertical drive leg with the propeller. The saildrive installs on the back of the engine and includes the transmission. It’s like the lower unit of an outboard motor, but you cannot raise it out of the water. 

Up Top – Types of Sailboat Designs

Aft Cockpit The “classic” design of the modern sailboat, if there is such a thing, is called the aft cockpit. This layout has the cockpit in the rear-most section of the hull, behind the cabin.

Center Cockpit The center cockpit sailboat has the cockpit closer to the mast. That leaves a lot of space in the rear of the hull for a huge stateroom. This design means that the cockpit will be closer to the boat’s center, making handling easier. But it is also higher, making more windage and motion at sea. 

Pilot House A pilot house sailboat has a second helm inside a protected area. These are popular in colder climates, where the pilot house provides a warm place to steer the boat from. The rear cockpit is usually smaller than a typical aft cockpit, but it’s still where the sail handling occurs. A pilot house has a raised level, so the salon typically surrounds the interior helm to utilize that space and visibility when not underway.

Deck Salon Like a pilot house, a deck salon has big windows and better visibility than a typical sailboat cabin. But it lacks a true interior helm. Many, however, have nav stations with forward visibility and autopilot controls, making it a comfortable place to sit and keep watch during a passage. 

Flush Deck Most sailboats have a raised coach roof where the interior cabin is. But some designers make their decks flush with the sides of the boat, making a wide open deck that is easy to move around on. 

parts of a sailboat

On Deck Sailboat Components – Sailboat Front

The deck of a sailboat is all about safety at sea. Most modern cruising boats are rigged such that there are few things you might need to go “out on deck” or “go forward” for. Instead, these things are rigged back to the cockpit, so you can stay safe and dry while doing your thing.

Since the wet pitching deck of a sailboat at sea is tricky, many of the things you’ll find there are safety-related.

Handholds Places to grab should be located all over the boat, so there’s never a risk of not having something to hold onto to stabilize yourself.

Lifelines Lifelines run the perimeter of the boat and provide a last-ditch safety device. You can grab them, and they should be high enough that they’ll keep you from going overboard. 

Stantions The stands that lifelines attach to.

Bow Pulpit The solid rail around the front of the boat provides a safe handhold and a starting point for the lifelines.

Stern Pushpit The same, but on the stern of the boat.

Bulwarks The raised edges of the deck on the sides so that you can’t slip overboard on accident.

No-Skid Decks In areas where people will be walking, the deck is treated with a special product to make the deck “no-skid.” That way, it isn’t slippery, even when wet.

Harness Sailing harnesses are designed to clip onto the boat and keep a sailor onboard even if the boat takes a huge wave or the sailor slips. The harness is the staple of offshore safety. 

Jack Lines Jack lines are temporary lines secured on the deck where sailors can attach their harnesses. 

Safety Rails Many boats also have extra rails and handholds located in spots where sailors might work on deck, like around the base of the mast.

At the bow of the sailboat, you’ll find her ground tackle.

Bowsprit The bowsprit is the spar that extends from the deck forward of the bow. They’re used on sailboats to gain more sail area since getting the sail farther forward means you can fit a bigger sail. Some have just a spar, while others have a bow platform that is part of the deck.

Ground Tackle  The generic word for the anchor, chain, and all the equipment needed to use it.

Anchor The anchor is “the hook” that digs into the seabed and keeps the boat in the same place. Anchors are safety devices since they allow you to stop in shallow water. But they also provide access to areas with no marinas since you can anchor offshore and go in on your dinghy. 

Windlass A winch that pulls up the anchor and chain. They can be manual, with a handle, or electric, with a button.

Anchor Rode The generic name for the anchor line. It can be a chain or rope.

Snubber A short length of rope that attaches to the chain to secure it to the boat. 

Cleat A horn-shaped piece of deck hardware used to secure a line or rope. 

Dorade A large vent opening on the deck of a boat which is designed to let air in but not water.

Hatch Hatches are upward-facing windows that you can open to increase ventilation in the cabin.

Locker A generic term for a cabinet or compartment on a boat. 

Going Aloft – Basic Boat Parts of a Sailing Rig

The rig of a boat is the mast and all of its associated parts. If you’re wondering about the many different kinds of rigs that are out there, check out our rundown on sailing terms . There you’ll find definitions for boats with just one mast or multiple masts, like sloop rig and what a boat with two sails in front might be called. It’s a cutter, if you’re wondering.

Spar A generic name for a mast, boom, or any other long pole used to hold a sail. It can be wood or metal or vertical or horizontal. 

Mast A vertical spar upon which a sail is hoisted.

Boom A horizontal pole that holds a sail and gives it shape. 

Standing Rigging The wires or rope that holds the mast upright. 

Stay Standing rigging that goes fore to aft. The head stay runs from the masthead to the bow, and the backstay runs from the masthead to the stern.

Shroud Standing rigging that goes to the sides of the boat. From the masthead to each side runs a cap shroud. Some masts also have intermediate and lower shrouds.

Running Rigging All lines that are used for sail handling are called running rigging. 

Halyard A halyard hoists a sail to the top. Each halyard is named for the sail it hoists, i.e., main halyard, jib halyard, spinnaker halyard.

Sheet The sheet controls the sail. If you ease the sheet, the sail is loosened. If you winch the sheet in, it is tightened. Like all running rigging, each sheet is named for the sail it controls, i.e., main sheet, jib sheet, etc.

Traveler If a sail has a boom, the traveler can be used to adjust it from side to side. The sheet is attached to the traveler. Most main sail travelers are located near or in the cockpit.

Gooseneck Fitting The articulating attachment that holds a boom on a mast.

Topping Lift A line that holds the rear end of a boom up. It runs from the masthead to the boom. 

Vang A control line pulls the boom down and puts pressure on the sail to keep it flatter. Large boats may have hydraulic or solid vangs.

Blocks The rest of the world would call this a pulley, but sailors call it a block.

Fairleads Deck organizers that keep the lines tidy and running in the direction they should go on deck.

Furler Wraps the sail around the stay so that it doesn’t not have to be raised and lowered each time. Instead, you pull on the sheet and the sail unrolls or “unfurls.”

On Deck – Back of Sailboat

On most boats, the cockpit is located at the back. 

Cockpit The main operations center and party central on a sailboat. This is where the skipper sits at the helm, and the linesmen control the sheets.

Coaming The cockpit is protected from waves and splashes by the coaming, the tall walls that enclose it. It also makes the cockpit safe since you are unlikely to get swept overboard from here.

Lazarette The main storage locker in the cockpit.

Helm The station where the skipper steers the boat from. 

Tiller If a boat doesn’t have a wheel, it will have a tiller. A tiller is just a handle connected to the rudder, and the skipper pushes or pulls it to steer. Even if a boat has a wheel, it probably has an emergency tiller in case the steering system breaks.

Winch Winches provide a mechanical advantage to make it easier to haul in lines. In the cockpit, all the sheets have winches.

Rope Clutch A clutch locks a rope in place so it can be taken off a winch, even when loaded.

Jammer A jammer does the same as a clutch, but it’s a simpler device found on smaller boats.

Weathervane Steering A weathervane is used to steer the boat like an autopilot but uses wind direction and mechanical linkages. As a result, they use no power and never complain about their workload. They mount on the stern of the boat and are controlled by simple lines to the cockpit. Windvanes are often referred to by their brand name, i.e., Monitor or Hydrovane

Davits Arms on the back of the boat that lift the dinghy or tender. 

Swim Platform A flat area on the transom that allows you easy access in and out of the water. A standard feature on newer boats but not on older ones that just had long swim ladders.

Catamaran Sailboat Parts Explained

For the most part, the components of a catamaran share the same terms and labels that they would on a monohull. Cats often have a few extra features with other names, however.

Hulls A catamaran is made with two hulls connected together. Each hull has an interior, just like a monohull sailboat does. The cabins and heads are usually located in the hulls, and sometimes the galley is also down below.

Owner’s Version A catamaran layout that is made for private owners. Usually, one hull will be dedicated to the owner’s stateroom with a private door, a huge head with a walk-in shower, and a large berth.

Charter Version It has more staterooms and heads than an owner’s version does. Usually, a charter cat has at least two staterooms and heads in each hull.

Bridge Deck The deck connects the two hulls, which usually has the salon and cockpit. If the design is “galley up,” the galley will be on the bridgedeck with the salon.

Cockpit Just like on a monohull, the cockpit is the operations center. But catamarans have huge cockpits, and there is usually a large outdoor dining table and entertainment area as well.

Forward Cockpit Some designs have lounge seating forward of the salon on the bridgedeck.

Flybridge Some designs have the main helm mounted on top of the salon on an upper level. It’s almost the catamaran equivalent of a center cockpit.

Trampolines Forward of the salon, the bridge deck stops, and a trampoline connects the hulls over the water. This is a great place to hang out, but it’s an integral safety feature for a catamaran. The trampolines allow any water to immediately drain away, not weighing the boat down on the bow. This prevents a pitchpole when a boat capsizes by tipping forward into the water.

Cross Beam and Dolphin Striker Since there is no center bow to mount the head stay and foresail, catamarans use a cross beam that connects the hull. A piece of rigging keeps this in place, and it’s called the dolphin striker. No dolphins were hurt in the rigging of these boats, however.

Anchor Bridle Instead of a single snubber line on the anchor, catamarans use a wide bridle that connects each hull bow to the anchor line.

Parts of a Sail Boat FAQs

What are parts of a sailboat called.

Sailing is a challenging hobby, and one reason it’s so difficult for beginners is because every part of a sailboat has its own name. From each wire and rope to every piece of deck hardware, a beginner must learn the basics before they can even start.

What is the front part of a sailboat called?

The front part of a sailboat is called the bow. Many boats also have a spar extending forward of the hull, called the bowsprit.

What are the 5 basic parts of every sailboat?

Every sailboat has at least these five parts, but most boats have many more.  Hull Keel Rudder Rigging Sails

sailboat deck hardware names

Matt has been boating around Florida for over 25 years in everything from small powerboats to large cruising catamarans. He currently lives aboard a 38-foot Cabo Rico sailboat with his wife Lucy and adventure dog Chelsea. Together, they cruise between winters in The Bahamas and summers in the Chesapeake Bay.

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Sailing is a unique boating experience, offering the thrill of using nature to power your journey and the peace of propelling your boat without a motor. However, you can't enjoy the delights of sailing when you're missing supplies or need new hardware. 

Our staff members at Fawcett Boat Supplies love to help every type of watercraft enthusiast, from sailors to power boaters. If you need hardware or supplies to get your boat back in top shape, browse our online store. With a place to find the parts you need and easy online ordering to bring them to your doorstep, we can get you back on the water fast. 

Fawcett Boat Supplies Has Sailboat Parts and Accessories

If you need components for your sailboat, come to Fawcett Boat Supplies. With us, you can find parts to repair and maintain your boat to spend more time enjoying the sea breeze. Here are a few parts and accessories we offer:

  • Lines and rigging: If you're replacing worn-out lines or looking for new rigging parts, you can find them here.
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A Better Way to Mount Deck Hardware

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Improperly mounted stanchion and pulpit bases are a major cause of gelcoat cracks in the deck radiating from the attached hardware. The cracks are usually the result of un­equally stressed mounting fastenings or inadequate underdeck distribution of hardware loads. Frequently, a boat is received from the builder with local cracks already developed. Once the deck gets dirty enough, these minute cracks start to show up as tiny spider webs slightly darker than the surrounding deck gelcoat While repairing these cracks is a fairly difficult cosmetic fix, the underlying problem – poor mounting – is fairly easy to correct in most cases.

For better or worse, production keep the cost of their boats competitive. Unfortunately, cutting corners is the rule rather than the exception in production boatbuilding. While you can’t change that situation, you can do a lot to correct the shortcomings that are a function of corner- cutting, including poorly mounted stanchions and pulpits.

The most typical problem in stanchion mounting is the base which straddles the inward-turning flange of the hull-to-deck joint. Frequently, the outboard bolts will go through both the hull and deck, while the inboard fastenings merely go through the deck. When a backing plate is installed that straddles the edge of the inward-turning hull flange under the deck, it is frequently distorted as the bolts fastening the stanchion bases are tightened. Tightening down the bolts when the backing plate doesn’t lie flush to the underside of the deck inevitably causes local stresses in the deck, frequently resulting in the characteristic spider web of gelcoat cracks.

In order to avoid the problem, some builders simply use oversize washers under the nuts of through-deck bolts. These are not adequate to resist strong local loads, such as leaning hard against a lifeline stanchion. A backing plate of rigid material, at least the size of the base of the hardware to be attached, is the proper solution.

It is fairly common for builders to use fiberglass backing plates, cut from discarded sections of moldings such as cutouts for hatches. While a fiberglass backing plate is better than nothing, it can easily split or distort when bolts are tightened, reducing its effectiveness.

With stainless steel or aluminum hardware, fastened with stainless steel bolts, backing plates of stainless steel or aluminum, between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch thick are a good choice. Marine-grade plywood, if it is sealed properly, also makes a good backing plate, although you will want to seal it with epoxy to prevent rot. One of our favorite backing plates is G-10, a superstrong – but not cheap – fiberglass laminate especially made for use in highly loaded areas.


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  2. Sailboat Parts Explained: Illustrated Guide (with Diagrams)

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  3. Sailboat Parts Explained: Illustrated Guide (with Diagrams)

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  4. Sailboat Parts Explained: Illustrated Guide (with Diagrams)

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  5. Boats Parts

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  6. How to mount deck hardware on a sailboat

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  1. Sailboat Parts Explained: Illustrated Guide (with Diagrams)

    The waterline is the point where the boat's hull meets the water. Generally, boat owners paint the waterline and use antifouling paint below it, to protect it from marine growth. Deck. The deck is the top part of the boat's hull. In a way, it's the cap of the boat, and it holds the deck hardware and rigging. Keel

  2. Sailboat Hardware

    Dynamic Dollies. Dynamic/Seitech Dollies Compatible Parts. Type 1: Boats up to 250 lbs Dollies. Type 2: Laser, Byte & Invitation Dollies. Type 3: Curled Gunwale Boats Dollies. Type 4.1: Small/Med Bowsprit Boats Dollies. Type 4.2: Heavier Sprit Boats Dollies.

  3. Parts of a Sailboat

    READ: Parts of a Sailboat — The Keel. Understanding the deck of a sailboat is all part of learning to sail. Essentially, the deck of a boat is both your office and your supply cabinet, from the helm, to the cockpit and stowages, the sidedeck, foredeck where the anchor is stored, and obstacles on the deck that need to be navigated as you sail.

  4. Bulletproof Sailboat Deck Hardware

    Inject about 50 percent of the epoxy first. This will help wet out the cloth. Using a large cable tie, stiff wire, or similar tool, push 3/4" x 2" strips of 6-ounce fiberglass cloth into the epoxy-saturated hole. You can fit 2-4 strips in the smallest holes and 3-6 strips into larger fastener holes.

  5. Discover The Different Parts Of A Sailboat: Illustrated Guide

    Hull - The main structure. Keel - The fin under the boat. Rudder - To steer the boat. Mast and Rigging - Supporting the sails. Boom - Supporting the mainsail. Sails - The canvas used to harness the energy of the wind. The starboard and port side of the boat. Windward and Leeward. Basic parts of a sailboat.

  6. Parts of a Yacht Deck: A Comprehensive Guide

    Short answer: Parts of a yacht deck: The main parts of a yacht deck include the bow, stern, port and starboard sides, cockpit, foredeck, afterdeck, and swim platform. Other components may include safety railings, cleats for securing lines, hatches for access to lower compartments, and anchor wells. Understanding the Essential Parts of a Yacht Deck:

  7. Upgrading Sailboat Deck Hardware

    Particularly, he points to Dyneema and Spectra, among other minimal-stretch materials. When upgrading an older boat, Prussia says, "decks need to be inspected to make sure the core is good structurally and that proper backing plates are used.". Dealing with these loads and lower-diameter cordage isn't typically problematic so long as ...

  8. Know How: Deck hardware

    Know How: Deck hardware. SAIL Editors. Updated: Aug 2, 2017. Original: Dec 14, 2016. Whether you enjoy cruising or racing, friction is never your friend. Fortunately, the marine industry offers an incredible variety of low-friction hardware to make your time afloat more enjoyable. Blocks—the age-old friend to sailors the world over—are one ...

  9. Rebedding Sailboat Deck Hardware

    Its primary use, when sealing hardware, is as a gap filler, with the aim of preventing water from passing between the hardware and deck/cabin surface. Options include polyurethane, polysulfide and silicone. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. If your caulk bead will be exposed, make certain it is a UV-stabilized variety.

  10. How to mount deck hardware on a sailboat

    Drill new holes. If you are mounting a new piece of hardware, the hardware should come with a bolt hole template that is to scale. Place the template on the deck in the location you want and with a center punch, mark the hole centers on the deck. Once the hole locations are determined, drill a pilot hole all the way through the deck, being very ...

  11. Sailboat Hardware & parts

    206-632-4462. Equip yourself with sailboat hardware and accessories from Fisheries Supply. Shop products from top brands like Harken, Ronstan, Schaefer, Lewmar, and more.

  12. Parts of a Sailboat

    Here is some of the hardware you'll find on a typical sailboat. These items are usually mounted to the hull, on the deck, or to the mast. Boat hardware consists of control systems and other items that are essential to the operation or integrity of the boat. Cleats. Cleats are the universal mounting points for ropes on the deck.

  13. Sailboat Rigging Hardware, Parts & Equipment

    We also offer a complete range of splicing and swaging services if you prefer an expert - so shop now and save. Can't find what you're looking for? Let us help. 206-632-4462. Equip yourself with sailboat rigging hardware from Fisheries Supply. Shop products from top brands like Hayn, Johnson, Alexander Roberts, Ronstan, and more.

  14. Sailboat Parts & Sailing Equipment

    At MAURIPRO Sailing we strive to be your ultimate source for sailboat hardware. Whether you are looking for Sailboat blocks, Boom Vangs, cam cleats, or other deck hardware, you can find it here. We offer technical assistance to help you outfit your boat with the right hardware to match your sailing needs. Selecting Replacement Sailboat Hardware.

  15. Sailboat Parts Names: What Makes a Sailboat?

    The deck is generally defined as any area on top of the hull. When you're not inside the boat, this is where you typically go for a walk. The mast and winches are mounted on the deck, serving as a mounting point for other important boat hardware. For now, think of the deck as the vessel's visible top area.

  16. Boat Deck Fittings & Marine Hardware

    Deck Fill/Plate Keys. Marine deck fittings do everything from secure your boat to the dock like cleats and bollards, to securing your sails with cam cleats for every size line, to providing drainage and ventilation. Marine hardware is specifically manufactured from materials designed to weather the elements and stand up to heavy use.

  17. Sailboat Hardware

    When you attach hardware to the deck, you should thru-bolt the item. Thru-bolting means drilling a hole in the mounting surface, and using a long bolt that goes all the way through the piece of hardware, through the mounting surface, with sufficient bolt threads exposed on the underside so you can put a washer and nut on. Thru-bolting can be ...

  18. Marine Hardware & Boat Deck Hardware

    Taco Marine is another quality hardware manufacturer. Other established brands like Sea-Dog Line and Seachoice offer huge selections of price-point hardware. Find and buy exact-match marine hardware and supplies for your boat. OEM parts, factory direct prices - shop hinges, latches, gas shocks, and more!

  19. Sailboat Hardware

    Spars, Rigging, and Hardware for Sailboats. Rig-Rite, Inc. Phone: (001) 401-739-1140 -- FAX: (001) 401-739-1149 Sailboat Hardware: Sailboat Hardware ... Foot Blocks - Deck mounted Turning Blocks for Jib & Spinnaker Sheets. Stand Up Spring Blocks ...

  20. Illustrated Guide to Sailboat Parts [Updated 2023]

    Up Top - Types of Sailboat Designs. Aft Cockpit The "classic" design of the modern sailboat, if there is such a thing, is called the aft cockpit. This layout has the cockpit in the rear-most section of the hull, behind the cabin. Center Cockpit The center cockpit sailboat has the cockpit closer to the mast. That leaves a lot of space in the rear of the hull for a huge stateroom.

  21. Sailing Hardware and Rigging

    Here are a few parts and accessories we offer: Lines and rigging: If you're replacing worn-out lines or looking for new rigging parts, you can find them here. Sailboat care: We have boat care supplies to help you maintain your sailboat's appearance and performance. Sailboat hardware: From blocks to lifeline hardware to other components, we have ...

  22. A Better Way to Mount Deck Hardware

    Improperly mounted stanchion and pulpit bases are a major cause of gelcoat cracks in the deck radiating from the attached hardware. The cracks are usually the result of un­equally stressed mounting fastenings or inadequate underdeck distribution of hardware loads. Frequently, a boat is received from the builder with local cracks already developed.

  23. Marine Hardware

    Marine Hardware Materials. There are a few material options available when choosing your boat hardware. Stainless steel is the most durable option for boat deck hardware and used on all high-end boats. However, with stainless steel boat hardware you do have to be concerned about rusting. Another option is plastic marine hardware.