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Parts of a Sailboat

Although sailboat design varies widely, all sailboats share a few basic components. The boat's main body is called the hull. The front of the hull is referred to as the bow, while the rear of the hull is called the stern. The rudder extends from the stern and is used to steer the boat. The centerboard, under the hull, helps sailors maintain a steady course by limiting the boat's movement from side to side. The mast and the boom support the boat's sails. The mainsail, the largest sail on a sailboat, is fastened to both the mast and the boom. The triangular sail in front of the mast is called the jib.

Only a few basic components are common to most boats of traditional style. The keel is a timber or other element running the length of the bottom of a boat along the center from the bow, or front, to the stern, or rear. The keel serves as the foundation for the frame, which is covered with a waterproof material to form the hull-the body of the boat. The terms keel, frame, and hull are also used in describing modern boats that are not built but are molded in one piece.

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