305.619.9559 christine@csfifer.com

No, that’s not a typo.  

I do not consider myself a knowledgable boater.  Maybe perhaps an instinctual boater, or an eager boater, but not necessarily a knowledgable boater.  I can pick up a mooring ball, I can usually read the wind on the water, and I know that “brown means run aground,” but beyond the obvious, I’m not embarrassed to admit I’m still learning.  Jean Piaget, the reknowned Swiss developmental psychologist, claimed there were four distinct phases in all learning. 

As far as the complexities of sailing go, I think I’m somewhere in the midst of stage two: Intuitive Thought of Preoperational… And here’s why:

Enter Points of Sail…. 

Mr. Webster describes lingo as 1. A foreign language or local dialect.  2. The vocabulary or jargon of a particular subject or group of people. 

I assure you, sailing comes with its own lingo. And I further assure you that it’s truly a language of its own.  Let me explain.  The Points of Sail are a series of terms to describe your boat’s orientation to the wind.  Without true understanding of these terms and orientations, your boat will not sail when or how you want it to,  much less where you actually want it to go.  But unlike directions for say, operating a motor vehicle, points of sail are much more complex, and therefore come with a multitude of diagrams to make it easier.  

Have a look at this one: 

Kind of obscure if your new at this and don’t really know what your looking at right? So how about this either of these:


What? The 32 point wind rose didn’t make any more sense than the one in Russian ? That didn’t  help clear up any confusion???  Well, maybe this will help: 


These are the 5-8 Year Olds from the St. Thomas Yacht Club in Nazareth Bay sailing through our mooring field the other day.  They are on a Port Tack.  Duh.  A Port Tack is when you are working your way UP wind. This means the wind is currently coming OVER the left side of the boat. Further, as they continue at this point of sail, their instructor, Captain Nautica (see BELOW)  yells “Coming ABOUT,” and they all jump OVER to the other side of the boat and yank the boom ACROSS to the other side of their precious tiny little vessels. Simple no? 

It seems that sailing definitely has its own language, and it’s favorite part of speech is the Preposition. As further example:

“Sail ABOVE the other boat so we can take their wind.”

“Keep it BETWEEN the red and green.” 

“Hurry and cast  OFF those lines so we can get OUT of here before they come FOR the mooring ball fee.”   


(There are roughly 150 recognized prepositions in the English language, seventy of which are considered common.)

It seems I will need a little more practice BEFORE I claim to be knowledgable. 

Catch ya tomorrow friends … 😎

Ps: here are a few more images from sailing camp, my personal notes, and my very favorite diagram of Points of Sail: