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Here, below, we propose a rich windsurf glossary of technical terms.


Windsurf glossary of technical terms 


Across Wind - at 90° to the wind direction

Apparent Wind - combination of true wind and induced wind
Back Loop - a windsurf trick in which the sailor launches the windsurf board off the wave lip and rotates backwards to land and sail away
Balance Point - the point where the sail is drawn across the board and feels light
Battens - stiff, flexible rods providing strength and shape to a sail
Beach Start - a technique for start sailing away in low water levels, close to the beach
Beam Reach - a direction approximately 90° away from the direction of the wind
Bear Away - to steer the board away from where the wind is coming from
Beaufort Scale - an international scale of wind speed described in numerical forces from 0 (calm) to 12 (a hurricane)
Blasting - moving quickly across the water
Boom - the "handlebars" of a windsurfer
Boom Head - the part of the boom where the mast is attached
Booties - shoes designed especially for water activities
Broad Reach - a direction approximately 135° away from the direction of the wind
Buoyancy Aid - foam-filled jacket providing positive buoyancy when immersed
Butterfly Rescue - a form of rescue where the sail is laid on the back of the board and the sailor paddles
Buys Ballot's Law - a way to determine positions of high and low pressure systems.
Catapulted - being propelled forwards off the board by the sail
Carve Gybe - high wind planing gybe
Centre of Effort - a central point on the sail from where the drive comes from
Centre of Lateral Resistance - a combination of the fin, dagger board and wetted area of the board that creates directional stability and resists sideways movement
Centreline - imaginary line going through the centre of the board from nose to tail
Cleat - a metal or plastic device with teeth located in the mast foot or boom end to prevent a line from slipping
Clew - rear (lower) corner of sail, which attaches to the end of the boom
Close Hauled - a direction approximately 45° away from the direction of the wind
Counter Balance - to oppose the weight of the rig with our body - rig goes one way, body the other
Cross-Shore - when the wind direction blows directly across the shore/land
Daggerboard - large flat retractable plate providing the board with sideways resistance
Deck Plate - fitting in board into which mastfoot is secured
Deck - top of the board
Downhaul - a rope used to attach the tack of the sail to the mastfoot
Downwind - in a position further away from the wind then you are
Duck Gybe - carve gybe achieved by "ducking" the sail
Eye of the Wind - the exact direction of the true wind, that is twelve o'clock
Fin - curved foil attached to underside and tail of board providing directional stability
Flagging - a downwind rescue, the sailor, board and rig drift with the wind
Gear Gazing - Looking at rig too much instead of where you are going
Goal Point - a point chosen to aim for when sailing
Groundswell - swell in sea which has travelled a long distance
Gust - a short and temporary blast of wind
Gybe - a turn that takes the nose of the board away from the wind


Harness Lines - lines linking harness to rig
Harness - equipment to attach the body to the rig
Head Up - to steer the board closer to where the wind is coming from
Hooking In - attaching harness to harness lines
Horizontal Tide - the parallel or sideways motion of the tide along the coastline
Hull - bottom of the board
IMCS - Indexed Mast Curve System - international standard for measuring stiffness of mast
Induced Wind - wind created by forward movement of board
Isobars - lines of equal atmospheric pressure on weather maps
Jury Rig - temporary repair to rig enabling self-rescue
Knots - nautical miles per hour
Laminar Flow - smooth airflow across sail providing lift
Laydown Gybe: gybing tightly by "laying" the rig lower on the water
Leech - trailing edge of sail
Leeward - a place or side of a board/craft that is away or sheltered from the wind
Lift - force acting on sail to power the board forward
Luff Tube - tube in leading edge of sail into which mast is fitted
Luffing - altering course towards wind
Mast Extension - an adjustable version of a mastfoot
Mast Track - a recess on the top of the board to attach the rig
Mast - long tapered pole used to hold the sail up
Mastfoot - an attachment joining the board and rig together
Miles Per Hour - a measurement of speed

Neap Tide - smaller tide range caused by phase of Moon
No-Go Zone - an area approximately 45° either side of the wind direction into which it is not possible to sail or windsurf
Nose Over Toes - stance keeping head above feet
Nose - front of the board
NPCG - non-planing carve gybe
Offshore - when the wind direction blows directly off the shore/land
Onshore - when the wind direction blows directly on to the shore/land
Outhaul Rope - used to attach clew of the sail to end of boom
Outhaul - a rope used to attach the clew of the sail to the end of the boom
Overfalls - inconsistencies and obstructions on seabed causing tidal flow to be uplifted
Overpowered - when the sail that is too large for the actual wind conditions
Planing - where board reaches sufficient speed to travel on the minimal of wetted area or surface of water
Port Tack - a nautical term used to describe the direction to which we are sailing - left side of our body is furthest forward on the board/craft
Port - a nautical term - the direction to the left of somebody facing the front of a board/craft
Rail - edge of board
Rash Vest - a T-shirt like garment worn either on its own or under a wetsuit to provide protection
Rig - sail, mast and boom assembly
Rig Rotator - specific movement of the rig in gybes
Rotational Sails - sails where battens provide aerofoil shape by being set (rotating) around mast
Rule of Twelves - rule relating to variation in water flow as tide rises/falls
Run - a direction approximately 180° away from the direction of the wind
Sail Quiver - set of different-sized sails
Sail - the 'engine' of the windsurfer - delivering power to the windsurfer
Sailing Position - the position we adopt to go windsurfing
Sea-Breeze - thermal wind generated by temperature difference between land and sea
Secure Position - a stationary positioning of the board where the sail has no power and the board is directly across the wind
Sheeting In - pulling the boom in, back and down
Shifting and Switching - specific footwork movement during a transition
Spinning Out - board slides sideways after loss of grip
Spring Tide - larger tide range caused by phase of Moon
Stance - body position while sailing
Starboard Tack - a nautical term used to describe the direction to which we are sailing - right side of the body is furthest forward on the board/craft
Starboard - a nautical term - the direction to the right of somebody facing the front of a board/craft
Steer - to turn upwind or downwind
Survival Gybe: gybe used in strong winds using an upwind approach
Tack - a turn that takes the nose of the board through the wind
Tail - back of the board
Tidal Range - vertical movement of water
Tidal Stream - movement of water parallel to coastline
Towing Eye - a small hole in the nose of the board used to attached a rope to enable towing
Trade Winds - prevailing winds in tropics close to equator
Transit - position judged by lining up two objects
Transitions - tacking and gybing
True Wind - prevailing wind when standing still
Tuning - adjustment of rig to find most efficient set-up
Turbulent Flow - disturbed airflow over sail
Turtle Rescue - a form of rescue where the sailor detaches the sail, lays it on the board, climbs inside it and paddles
Twin-Cam Sails - sails with larger luff tubes accommodating device to hold the batten against the mast
Universal Joint (UJ) - part of mastfoot, allowing flexible movement of the rig
Uphaul - combined rope and elastic attached to the boom enabling the rig to be pulled out of the water
Upwind - in a position closer to the wind than you
Vertical Tide - the effect of tidal rise or fall on the land
Windswell - wave formation and height caused by direction and strength of wind
Windward - a place or side of a board/craft that is closer to the wind

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