OCSC Sailing School

Site Glossary

Sailing glossaryWelcome to our Website Glossary

This short vocabulary list is meant to ensure that while navigating our website, you'll be able to surf with confidence. If you're new to sailing, sometimes the terminology can be more than a little daunting. You'll learn lots of technical terms in our courses, but here's your key to some basic sailing lingo to get you underway.



Bareboat: Renting (chartering) a boat without a hired skipper.

Certification: An internationally recognized series of sailing skill and knowledge levels that qualify one to charter and skipper boats around the world. OCSC offers a full range of US Sailing certification courses.

Charter: To rent a boat.

Crew List: OCSC Sailing members who want to go sailing and have put their names into a database that other members can use to build a crew for a sail together. Our crew list is very useful and wildly popular!

Cruising: Sailing a boat between two destinations over time. Not racing other boats. Mostly about the journey, not the speed.

Fleet: A group of boats with a common owner, purpose or use. The OCSC Sailing fleet is the group of 50 boats at our dock.

Flotilla: An OCSC Sailing-led sailing vacation typically consisting of six to eight chartered boats in a destinations such as the South Seas, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

Keelboat: A sailboat with a heavy vertical fin beneath the boat that helps keep it upright and guides the boat through the water. All OCSC boats are keelboats.

OCSC: The acronym for the original name of OCSC Sailing. OCSC stands for the Olympic Circle Sailing Club. The Olympic Circle is a race course created years ago which is situated just outside and to the north of the Berkeley Marina.

Planning Party: An evening event at OCSC to explain the details and answer questions from anyone interested in going on a flotilla. People form groups to reserve boats or join an OCSC-skippered boat. In the planning meetings, you'll decide which option works best for you, and you'll meet potential shipmates, other skippers, and the OCSC personnel who will lead the flotilla.

Port: 1) The left-hand side of a boat when one looks from the back to the front of the vessel; 2) A harbor or safe haven where boats can dock or anchor. The Berkeley Marina is OCSC's home port.

Seamanship: The skill and ability of a person in the operation and handling of a boat, its equipment and its crew.

Skipper: The person in charge of the boat -- not always the same as the person who charters or owns the boat!

Skippered Charters: Renting an OCSC sailboat and an OCSC employee to be the skipper.

Starboard: The right-hand side of a boat as one looks from the back to the front of the vessel.

US Sailing: A non-profit organization, designated the official national governing body of sailing by the U.S. Congress. OCSC has made significant contributions to the national training programs for sailors, and our certification courses are part of US Sailing's certification series.

Yacht: A relatively small sail or power vessel built for private sport or leisure uses. Interchangable with boat, craft, vessel.