Sailboats Information

A sailboat or sailing boat is a boat propelled partly or entirely by sails. The term covers a variety of boats, larger than small vessels such as sailboards and smaller than sailing ships, but distinctions in size are not strictly defined and what constitutes a sailing ship, sailboat, or a smaller vessel varies by region and culture.

At present, a great number of sailboat-types may be distinguished. Apart from size, sailboats may be distinguished by a hull configuration , keel type , purpose , number and configuration of masts, and sail plan. Although sailboat terminology has varied across history, many terms now have specific meanings in the context of modern yachting.

Today, the most common sailboat is the sloop which features one mast and two sails, a normal mainsail and a foresail. This simple configuration is very efficient for sailing towards the wind. The mainsail is attached to the mast and the boom, which is a spar capable of swinging across the boat, depending on the direction of the wind. Depending on the size and design of the foresail it can be called a jib, Genoa, or spinnaker; it is possible but not common for a sloop to carry two foresails from the one forestay at one time . The forestay is a line or cable near the top of the mast to a point near the bow. In Bermuda, where a rig design influenced by the Latin rig appeared on boats and came to be known as the Bermuda rig, a large spinnaker was carried on a spinnaker boom when running down-wind. An example of a typical sloop can be seen on the Islander 36.

Wikipedia, Sailboats, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailboats (as of Apr 7, 2010)

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