Sailing Terms That Begin with the letter 'Q'

Queen's (King's) Regulations- The standing orders governing the Royal Navy of UK issued in the name of the current Monarch.

Quarterdeck- The aftermost deck of a warship. In the age of sail, the quarterdeck was the preserve of the ship's officers.

Quayside- Refers to the dock or platform used to fasten a vessel to.

Sailing Terms That Begin with the letter 'R'

Radar- Acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging. An electronic system designed to transmit radio signals and receive reflected images of those signals from a "target" in order to determine the bearing and distance to the "target".

Radar reflector - A special fixture fitted to a vessel or incorporated into the design of certain aids to navigation to enhance their ability to reflect radar energy. In general, these fixtures will materially improve the visibility for use by vessels with radar.

Range lights - Two lights associated to form a range (a line formed by the extension of a line connecting two charted points) which often, but not necessarily, indicates the channel centerline. The front range light is the lower of the two, and nearer to the mariner using the range. The rear light is higher and further from the mariner.

Ratlines - Rope ladders permanently rigged from bulwarks and tops to the mast to enable access to top masts and yards. Also serve to provide lateral stability to the masts.

Reach - A point of sail from about 60° to about 160° off the wind. Reaching consists of "close reaching" (about 60° to 80°), "beam reaching" (about 90°) and "broad reaching" (about 120° to 160°).

Red Duster - Traditional nickname for the Civil Red Ensign.

Reduced cat - A light version on the cat o'nine tails for use on boys; also called "boys' pussy".


  1. Reef: To temporarily reduce the area of a sail exposed to the wind, usually to guard against adverse effects of strong wind or to slow the vessel.

  2. Reef: Rock or coral, possibly only revealed at low tide, shallow enough that the vessel will at least touch if not go aground.

Reef points - Small lengths of cord attached to a sail, used to secure the excess fabric after reefing.

Reef-bands - Long pieces of rough canvas sewed across the sails to give them additional strength.

Reef-tackles - Ropes employed in the operation of reefing.

Rigging - The system of masts and lines on ships and other sailing vessels.

Righting couple - The force which tends to restore a ship to equilibrium once a heel has altered the relationship between her centre of buoyancy and her centre of gravity.

Rigol - The rim or 'eyebrow' above a port-hole or scuttle.

Roll - A vessel's motion rotating from side to side, about the fore-aft axis. List (qv) is a lasting tilt in the roll direction.

Rolling-tackle - A number of pulleys, engaged to confine the yard to the weather side of the mast; this tackle is much used in a rough sea.

The Ropes - Refers to the lines in the rigging.

Rope's end - A summary punishment device.

Rummage sale - A sale of damaged cargo (from French arrimage).

Running rigging - Rigging used to manipulate sails, spars, etc. in order to control the movement of the ship. Cf. standing rigging.