Sailing Terms That Begin with the letter 'T' 

Tailshaft - A kind of metallic shafting (a rod of metal) to hold the propeller and connected to the power engine. When the tailshaft is moved, the propeller may also be moved for propulsion.

Taken aback - An inattentive helmsmen might allow the dangerous situation to arise where the wind is blowing into the sails "backwards", causing a sudden (and possibly dangerous) shift in the position of the sails.

Taking the wind out of his sails:

To sail in a way that steals the wind from another ship. cf. overbear.

Tally - The operation of hauling aft the sheets, or drawing them in the direction of the ship's stern.


Teazer - A rope used as a punitive device.

Three sheets to the wind:

On a three-masted ship, having the sheets of the three lower courses loose will result in the ship meandering aimlessly downwind. Also, a sailor who has drunk strong spirits beyond his capacity.


Timoneer: From the French timonnier, is a name given, on particular occasions, to the steersman of a ship.

Toe the line or Toe the mark: At parade, sailors and soldiers were required to stand in line, their toes in line with a seam of the deck.

Togey - A rope used as a punitive device.

Topmast - The second section of the mast above the deck; formerly the upper mast, later surmounted by the topgallant mast; carrying the topsails.

Topgallant - The mast or sails above the tops.

Topsail - The second sail (counting from the bottom) up a mast. These may be either square sails or fore-and-aft ones, in which case they often "fill in" between the mast and the gaff of the sail below.


Topsides - The part of the hull between the waterline and the deck. Also, Above-water hull.

Touch and go - The bottom of the ship touching the bottom, but not grounding.

Towing - The operation of drawing a vessel forward by means of long lines.

TrackLink - NauticEds GPS Tracking App for students logbooks.

Travellers - Small fittings that slide on a rod or line. The most common use is for the inboard end of the mainsheet; a more esoteric form of traveller consists of "slight iron rings, encircling the backstays, which are used for hoisting the top-gallant yards, and confining them to the backstays".

Traffic Separation Scheme: Shipping corridors marked by buoys which separate incoming from outgoing vessels. Improperly called Sea Lanes.

Transom - A more or less flat surface across the stern of a vessel.

Trick - A period of time spent at the wheel ("my trick's over").

Trim - Relationship of ship's hull to waterline.

Turtling - When a sailboat (in particular a dinghy) capsizes to a point where the mast is pointed straight down and the hull is on the surface resembling a turtle shell.

Sailing Terms That Begin with the letter 'U' 

Under the weather - Serving a watch on the weather side of the ship, exposed to wind and spray.

Under way - A vessel that is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.

Underwater hull or underwater ship:

The underwater section of a vessel beneath the waterline, normally not visible except when in drydock.


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Sailing Terms That Begin with the letter 'V' 

Vanishing angle - The maximum degree of heel after which a vessel becomes unable to return to an upright position.