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Amo Yachts - What are sailboats made of?

What are sailboats made of?

A sailboat is a boat that is characterized by having its motor in the sails, that is, they move thanks to the energy that the wind exerts on them. The rigging, the hull, the keel and the rudder are, together with the sails, the components that allow the ship to be steered and moved.

Parts of a sailboat

If you are going to buy a sailboat or you want to rent one, the most advisable thing is that you know all the parts that compose these boats. Their knowledge will not only help you to know how to sail your boat, you also need to know how much it will cost you to maintain it and how your sailboat works.

Velas de un velero

That’s why we show you below all the parts that make up a sailboat.

  • Helmet. It is the fundamental part of the sailboat since its mission is to allow the boat to float. There are monohulls and multihulls, finding in the latter the catamarans and trimarans.
  • Keel. Its function is to maintain and increase the stability of the boat. To do this, it counteracts the strength of the sails containing the ballast. The main problem with the keel is that the more ballast it contains, the more stable the boat is and the slower and heavier it is.
  • Rudder. Its objective is to give the boat the possibility to maneuver. In addition, it allows directional and lateral stability.
  • Mast. Pole or vertical rig that holds the sails.
  • Boom. Horizontal pole or hanger that attaches to the mast to hold the mainsail. It also allows you to steer it.
  • Daggerboard. Retractable piece located under the hull or keel. Its mission is to prevent the boat from varying its course by the wind.
  • Rigging firm. Boat’s fixed cables and ropes. Composed of stanchions and shrouds, this firm rigging is not normally manipulated and all it does is hold the ship’s poles.
  • Estáis, stays or estyes. Steel cables or ropes whose function is to hold the mast so that its position does not vary towards the bow or stern.
  • Shrouds. Ropes or cables that hold the mast laterally. To ensure their fixation, they are tied by chains.
  • Halyards. Cables or ropes used to hoist or lower the sails.
  • Sheets. Ropes used to guide and handle the sails. To do this, they are held firmly in the boom or clew of the sails.
  • Amantillos. These lines have the mission of holding the boom, when the sail is not raised, at the top of the mast.
  • Trap. It consists of a line or cable whose function is to hold the boom to the base of the mast to prevent it from lifting.
  • Battens. Laminated tubes or rods, in most cases carbon fibre or glass. Its objective is to give shape and rigidity to the sail avoiding the formation of vertical wrinkles.
  • Luff. The side of the sail that is attached to the mast, if it is a mainsail, or to the stanchion, if the sail is jib.
  • Baluma. goes from the top corner of the sail, halyard cuff, to the bottom corner near aft, clew, is the back side of the sail.
  • Foot. This is the lower side of a triangular sail which is itself the largest and is attached to the boom.

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a unique experience without having to worry about navigation and the perfect condition of each part of the sailboat, you can always choose to rent a boat.

In addition, at Amoyachts we offer you a wide variety of sailing boats with which you can sail the seas of Ibiza and Formentera and enjoy a unique, original and unforgettable holiday surrounded by your loved ones.

What types of helmets are there? Construction material

The hull is the part of the sailboat that is in permanent contact with the water. Below we show you the different ways to name a boat according to its type of hull:

  • Monohull. A hull. Although they are the most common when you buy or rent a sailboat, they differ from each other in size, construction material, rigging and number of masts.
  • Catamaran. Two identical hulls joined together. The latter are more habitable than the former by having two cases, they are also faster and more stable. The main disadvantage of these models is that they need two moorings in the ports. It is also important to note that these vessels are increasingly popular on cruises.
  • Trimaran. Three hulls, one central hull and two smaller hulls located on each side of the central hull. The central hull is usually the one that the passengers can navigate and the others have the function of giving stability to the boat. Like catamarans, trimarans also need several moorings, in this case three. Although you can buy it and use it in your leisure time, these vessels are usually used in competitions and to break new speed records, nothing more.

For its part, when we analyze the construction of these cases, we can see that you can select a type of hull depending on its shape: rounded, live bilge and V. It is very important to analyze the construction materials of the hull. It is true that wood continues to have a significant weight, although nearly 90% of sailboats are made of GRP, polyester reinforced with fiberglass.

Casco de un velero

Another of the materials usually used is aluminium, especially in those boats that are designed to sail in an ocean. Nowadays, the number of sailboats made of carbon fibre has increased, a very resistant material ideal for sailboat races.

To give you an idea, dinghies and coastal cruisers are often made of GRP, as they are not usually used for long seasons and the weather conditions are usually good. Aluminium, on the other hand, is much harder and more resistant, but they come at a higher price.

Keel types

There is a wide variety of keels that make up your hull and, as they contain ballast, they guarantee the stability of your sailboat. This element has been part of competition yachts since ancient times, but the manufacturers did not want to reveal the materials with which they were built.

Quilla de un velero

Today, keels are usually made of iron alloys, lead and other high-density materials. In addition, each type of hull usually has a certain type of keel and ortza; in this way, the best performance of the boat is guaranteed.

  • Keel running. It goes continuously from the bow to the stern. Its shape is elongated, wide and shallow, so it is often confused with the shape of the hull. It is one of the most traditional and usually appears on older boats. They are more difficult to handle backwards and their turning radius is very large, so it is more difficult to perform a maneuver in a port. Even so, it offers greater stability the higher the speed.
  • Fin keel. Separated from the rudder, it is usually narrower and deeper. Even so, it is short in relation to the total area of the hull.
  • Keel with wings. The weight of the boat is in the bulb eo in the wings located at the bottom of the ship. This keel concentrates the weight in the lower part of the boat, which produces greater stability and is perfect for shallow water. In addition, it gives more room for manoeuvre but, as it has the lowest centre of gravity, it needs more water.
  • Balance keel. Also known as a bilge keel, this type is made up of two shallow keels located on the port and starboard sides. It is perfect for sailboats wintering in the sand or on a beach. They also reduce instability and act as stabilizers.
  • Daggerboards. Mobile extensions that counteract the possible drift of the boat due to the wind. Unlike the keel, these appendages can be hidden to increase the speed of the sailboat when the wind is downwind. Within this type we find the batten daggerboards, which allow their vertical elevation, and the pivoting daggerboards, which move over a centre that facilitates the raising and lowering of the lower part of the boat.
  • Retractable keel. Its function is the same as that of the batten daggerboards, allowing vertical lifting through a hole in the hull. The only difference is that, in this case, it has a ballast that increases the stability of your ship.

Types of rudder

The rudder is one of the most characteristic and elemental elements of a sailboat, it is the fundamental piece to be able to direct your boat. There are many designs, from the most classic to the most modern, and types of rudder today, so here are some of the most used for the manufacture of sailboats.

Persona navegando el timón de un velero

  • Keel rudder. It is designed for keel boats and is located there. Its design is robust and needs a lot of turning angle, which causes the boat to make slow movements.
  • Rudder with skeg. The skeg is an extension at the rear of the hull. In this case, this type of control is usually attached there on the short keel boats that contain it.
  • Suspended or suspended rudder. It was one of the most used options in the boats of the 80s. This time we are talking about a rudder that hangs from the bottom of the hull by the wick. Its design and construction are very solid and the control of the boat is optimal.
  • Rudder on the transom. Its function is the same as the previous one but, on this occasion, its coupling is on the transom.
  • Double rudder. It is one of the most effective. It was first used on ocean sailing boats and many cruise ships now have it. This type makes it possible to control the course of the ship, even when the ship has heeled.

When you’re thinking about participating in a sailing race, it’s a good idea to know how to handle all these parts of your boat, especially the rudder and sails. It’s true that it’s not obligatory, but its knowledge will make it possible for you to go further and you’ll have a better chance of winning.