Schooner: A sailboat that has two masts both the same height or on some schooners, the aft mast is higher than the fore mast.
Scope: Expressed in terms of a ratio, it is the length of the anchor rode let out compared to height above the sea bed. Height is measured not from the water line but from the top of the deck to the sea bed. A safe anchoring ratio is 1:7 which translates to 7 feet of anchor rode for every foot of height. Many sailors incorrectly assume that height means water depth and therefore find themselves dragging the anchor for lack of proper scope.
Seaworthy: A boat that is fit to be sailed at sea.
Self-bailing cockpit: A cockpit that allows water to drain automatically from the cockpit to the outside of the boat.
Shackles: Metal fittings (often U shaped) that open and close with a pin across the top of the ‘U’. Lines and halyards often use shackles. The mainsail halyard is secured to the head of the mainsail with the use of a shackle.
Sheave: A roller/wheel to guide a line or wire.
Sheets: Lines that are used to adjust sails by either pulling them in or by letting them out.
Shrouds: Also called sidestays, shrouds are the metal wires found on both sides of the mast running from the deck to the top or near top of the mast. The shrouds support the mast by providing lateral support.
Slack water: The period between the flood (tidal water moving in) and the ebb (tidal water moving out) where the water has in effect stalled – little or no movement.
Slides: The groove in the mast to which the luff (front side) of the mainsail is inserted. The slides hold the sail tight against the mast and allows the sail to be easily raised or lowered.
Sloop: a sailboat that has one mast and sails with the mainsail and one foresail.
Soundings: Water depths.
Spar: A spar can refer to any of the following: mast, boom or a pole.
Spinnaker: A large balloon-like foresail used for sailing downwind (running or broad reach).
Spinnaker pole: The spinnaker pole is boom-like in nature, but smaller and lighter, and attaches to fore part of the mast a few feet up from the deck. The other end of the spinnaker pole attaches to the leeward (down wind) base of the spinnaker.
Spreaders: Bars extending sideways from the mast (gives the mast a cross-like appearance). The spreaders hold out the shrouds so that they do not interfer with the rigging.
Springlines: Springlines are used to secure a boat to a dock and stop the boat from moving forward or backwards. The aft springline runs from a point on the boat near the bow to a point aft on the dock. The forward springline runs from a point on the boat near the stern to a point forward on the dock.
Squall: A sudden isolated storm associated with potentially high wind gusts.
Stanchions: Upright metal posts running around the outside of the deck supporting the lifelines.
Stand: This refers to the short period of time where the tide is neither rising or falling. (At a stand still.)
Standing rigging: Standing rigging includes the forestay, backstay and the shrouds. Unlike the ‘running rigging’, the standing rigging is generally only adjusted when the boat is not underway.
Stand-on boat: The boat that must retain her current course and rate of speed in order to avoid a potential collision with an approaching give-way boat.
Starboard: As you face towards the bow on a boat, starboard is the right hand side of the boat.
Starboard tack: Sailing across the wind with the wind hitting the starboard (right) side of the boat first.
Steerage: The ability of the boat to be steered. In order for a rudder to be effective in steering a boat, there must be boat movement. A boat not moving cannot be steered.
Stern: The most aft part of a boat (the very back of the boat).
Storm jib: Same as a jib but not as big. The smaller sail is used in high wind conditions.