America’s Cup – Frequently used words and what I’ve learnt

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Since watching Dean Barker and his amazing Emirates Team New Zealand compete to bring home the America’s Cup over the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing all these new ‘sporting terms’ bandied around.

If I’m honest, I had never heard of some of them before a few weeks ago or only vaguely knew the understanding of them.

So I thought I would share some of the America’s Cup – frequently used words and what I’ve learnt to help out fellow America’s Cup novices like me!:


  • Pie Warmers

Where you would find 12 hour old “Thermo Nuclear Pie’s” on a late night stumble home after a hard night partying.
Don’t forget to “Always blow on the pie”!

Actual – The nickname ETNZ has given to two features on their boat. “They are like spoilers on the crossbeam” and Grant Dalton tells us “that it creates more area”.


Emirates Team New Zealand at the Louis Vuitton Cup 2013
Frank Schulenburg / Foter / CC BY-SA
  • Foiling

What you hairdresser was doing to you last week when you got your blazing new red streaks to go that extra mile and support your ETNZ beyond the Red Socks.

Can also be when your dodgy ex neighbour burns their Marijuana oil over a scrap of tin foil with a lighter!

Actual – It is when the Catamarans are sailing with one or both hulls out of the water, looking like they are hovering above the water with only their keel tethering them.


  • Golden Gate Yacht Club

It’s the brother yacht club to the Golden Arches Yacht Club owned by McDonalds.

Actual – It’s kinda like the place that looks after the America’s Cup racing and where it’s all affiliated to. Almost like the host club.


Golden Arches
wbeem / Foter / CC BY-NC



  • Jibe

I thought I was hearing the word ‘JiVe’ all week, so of course I thought it was a dance I remember seeing Candy Lane and Brendon Cole perform on Dancing with the Stars back in 2007.

Actual – Jibe – Is when they steer the boat away from the direction they are going in. I’ve also seen it written Gybe and I don’t know which is right.


  • Knot

Not ….not….but Knot.

What Harper Beckham was sporting on top of her head recently at her Mom’s fashion show when sitting next to an adoring Anna Wintour.


Actual – It’s a measure of the yachts speed and is a boating term.
1 knot = 1.15077945 kilometers per hour.  So if Emirates Team New Zealand are going 87 kmph, that is 46.9762 knots.

It could also be what Oracle Team USA had on their boat a few days back that two crew members had to spent quite some time undoing during the race, as they had got themselves in knots.

  • Boom

What you say when you achieve greatness, in reference to yourself or others.
As in “We just won the America’s Cup – Boom!!”.

Favoured ‘go to word’ of Ben Crawford.
He’s one 1/2 of my favourite team on The Block 2012, aka ‘Ben & Libby’, so he can use the word “Boom” all he likes 😉

Actual – The long beam that moves across the boat and sits horizontal and is connected to the mainsail. As they tack, this is released by the crew and swings across…if you don’t duck –boom!

  • Port

An alcoholic drink that you parents sometimes drank after dinner in the 80’s when friends came round for dinner parties. The Port languished way at the back of their liquor cabinet and even I never ‘touched’ it when looking for something to borrow from them latter in life.
Might need some of this to celebrate with tomorrow after the ETNZ boys win the race (although I’ll be at work, so maybe not)!

Actual – It’s the left side of the boat when you’re on it and you’re looking towards to the front of the boat.

  • Starboard

A nice display board with the galaxy’s constellations on it showing you where to find the ‘Milky way’ and the ‘Pot when you’re out for a walk at night!

Actual – It’s the right side of the boat.

Milky Way / Via Láctea
Chaval Brasil / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


  • AC75

The wattage of my cordless drill or maybe your flight number if you’re flying on Air Canada from Caracas to Toronto.

Actual – It’s the name of the 72 foot boats they are racing in the cup. I understand that there are design specs that each team must adhere to, but then they each design and build their own unique boats where the plans are kept very secret.


  • Trampoline

A slightly tedious exercise craze from the 80’s that we spent hours on mini version of them in our leotards trying to be the gorgeous ‘Suzy Aitken’.

The staple of every 2nd Kiwi’s back yard or in the case of the wild weather lately rolling past your house or wrapped around every 2nd lamp post.


Actual – It’s the netting stuff you see strung between the two hulls on each boat. It adds a little spring to their step as they cross from one side to the other. It also means that water can splash up and not cause any extra weight as it can’t pool on a deck.
Or in this case turf you off the side when you spring a little too much.


  • Buoy

What you say when you are trying to make the word Boy sound posh!

Actual – This often brightly coloured round ball object that floats in the water but is secured to the bottom of the ocean to mark a point or to tether your boat to.


  • Bow

What you will need to learn to do when Prince William, The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George come to visit New Zealand and they come to visit your 10th annual paper plane throwing competition.

Actual – Front of the boat.


  • Cleat

It’s “Clever Tweet” of course, a “Cleat”
…or maybe you’re “Close to Eating”
…or maybe the name of ‘George Clooney’s’ new Restaurant

Actual – A device used to stop a rope slipping with some knarly teeth on it.


  • Downwind

A new TV series coming out based on the upstairs and downstairs antics of local South Island town Winchester.
Critics have labelled it a racier version of ‘Downton Abbey’.

Actual – When your sailing and the wind is coming from behind you.


  • Draught

Your favourite ‘on tap’ beer for when you come home after a long days outing. They also like to support the America’s Cup with their hilarious billboards that I pass on the motorway.

Actual – It’s the bit from the ocean to where the bottom of the keel is at the time. Sometimes I guess there is no draught or a little too much, alot like here.

I think you can also Draught behind someone, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing in yachting compared to the likes of cycling as in yachting you actually want the wind.


  • Overboard

Not just the name of an 80’s movie starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (I loved that movie)….hey it is a movie about a Boat, just a different kinda boat!

Actual – Is when a person turfs himself into the water himself by accident or on purpose like Oracle Team USA does sometimes before the race starts.


What have you learnt over the last few weeks of the America’s Cup racing?




I’m not yachting expert, so don’t take my word for it :-). Even the ‘actual’ descriptions can’t exactly be counted on, as they just in the terms that I think of.


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