Anatomy of a Sailboat

It’s snowing and twenty seven degrees.  Snowmen are populating the neighborhood.  One is sporting a Hawaiian lei.

I like the way that snowman’s family thinks.

What better way to get through this winter than to think ahead to another Chicago Summer?  Here’s a quick lesson on the anatomy of a sailboat to put you in the mood.  These photos are of our Tartan 34 Classic sailboat.

The compass.

Looking up at the mast and spreaders. The stays are the cables that keep the mast upright.

The helm (or wheel)

The port (or left) side of the boat. The right side is called the starboard side. The lifelines are what you hold on to while walking forward to the bow or back to the stern. The wooden toerail runs along the edge, under the lifelines.

Maggie and I rest our feet on the lifelines, just above the toerail.

Now we're inside the cabin, on the starboard side. The taller door leads to the hanging locker (or closet). The three drawers are used for storing clothes, towels, blankets, and equipment.

This is the port side salon (or living room area). This couch can transform into a queen-sized bed!

The table in the cabin folds 3 different ways: 1) down like this, 2) opened wider, or 3) folded up and attached to the cabin wall. The head (or bathroom) is behind the wall with the table. The hanging locker is behind the couch (or berth) on the right.

Looking back toward the starboard stern, the galley (or kitchen) is small. The little wooden door above the sink leads to an icebox to store foods that require refrigeration

Looking into the v-berth (or v-bed) at the bow (or front) of the boat. Two people can sleep in here if their toes meet at the tip of the "v"

The head (or bathroom). This isn't a regular toilet. You must pump the contents into a holding tank in the hull every time you use it. Then, you pump out the holding tank at a pump-out dock when the tank is full.

A boat like ours with a fixed lead keel (which keeps it from tipping) needs to be lifted out of the water with a special truck. The truck lifts the boat out of the water and places it on a tall cradle or on jackstands that hold it upright so work can be done.

Here, the boat rests on jackstands inside a storage shed. The mast is off. The boat has just been painted. You can see the keel at the bottom of the hull; it looks like an upside-down shark's fin. You can also see the rudder off the stern. The helm (or wheel) is what moves the rudder, helping to steer the boat.

This is what our boat looked like on the day we bought it. The paint job really made a big difference.

I hope you’ve gotten a little bit of useful information out of this post.  If you want more specs about the Tartan 34C, check out this Tartan 34 Classic site.


5 responses to “Anatomy of a Sailboat

  1. Pingback: Anatomy of a Sailboat « Christine Wolf's Blog « Sail Boating

  2. So cool! What is the name of your boat?

  3. Nice. Nothing like a few candid photos to “…put you (me) in the mood”

    My friend, you know me well.


    • Seriously, Sean, in this weather, we need all the boosts we can get! If patience builds character, then we midwestern sailors sure are “characters” of the utmost degree.

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