Opti Boat Parts and Terminology

For our youth to understand anything the coaches are saying on the water, they need to understand what the parts of the boat are named. Sailing has its own language and terminology for really good reasons… so instead of our coaches blasting on the megaphone across the water on a windy day, “Pull the string thingy under the horizontal metal thing”, it is much more succinct for them to instruct, “Sheet In”. Our basic learning boat is the Optimist. Please study the parts of the boat and their names or labels…. for fun this diagram is multilingual!

  • Hull Sides – Bow, Stern, Starboard and Port Sides
  • Mast, Boom and Sprit are all Spars
  • Rudder, Tiller and Tiller Extension Steer the Boat. The rudder can also be used to slow down the boat. The person steering is called the helmsman.
  • Centerboard of Daggerboard helps the hull not slip sideways over the water
  • Sails power the sailboat and make it move forward. The better the sails are trimmed, the faster your boat can sail, so understanding how the sail controls work and what to look for in your sail shape is extremely important on sailboats.

Here is a link to a video of an instructor explaining the parts of the Optimist Sailboat! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHhXD5jKL3w

Another good video on how to rig the Optimist Sail, Mast and Boom. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOPTCXSuevY