Popular Terms

The Language

aft:
Toward the rear of the canoe.

beam:
The width of the canoe.

bow:
The forward most part of a canoe.

bowman:
The paddler in the forward position.

center line:
Imaginary longitudinal line running from bow to stern.

depth:
The distance from the canoe’s floor to the height of the gunwale measured at the boat’s center line.

draft:
The vertical distance from the waterline of the boat to the lowest point of the boat.

flare:
The amount the sides of a canoe curve outward from the perpendicular.

flotation:
Material encased under bow and stern decks allowing the canoe to float

forward:
Toward the bow.

freeboard:
The distance between the waterline and the gunwale of the canoe.

gunwale:
A strengthening rail, running the length of the canoe on each side, which is fastened to the top of the sides.

keel:
A longitudinal extrusion fastened to the canoe’s bottom, on its center line, to give strength, protection, and added control.

leeward:
From the canoe, the direction toward which the wind is blowing.

port:
The left side of the canoe.

portage:
The carrying of a canoe or its contents over land from one body of water to another.

rib:
Frames on the inside of the hull to give additional strength.

spray rail:
Longitudinal rails running slightly above the waterline on the outside, to deflect waves and chop.

starboard:
The right hand side of the canoe.

stern:
The extreme end of the canoe.

stern man:
Paddler in the rear position.

thwart:
A support extending across width of canoe from gunwale to gunwale.

tumblehome:
The amount the sides of a canoe curves out and then returns inward from the perpendicular.

transom:
The square stern in canoes designed for stern-mounted outboards.

windward:
From the canoe, the direction from which the wind is blowing.

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