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For the verb tack, see Tack (verb).
A boat is on the tack, starboard or port, corresponding to her windward side.

Plain english please!Edit

With the notable exception of sailing by the lee:

  • A boat is on starboard tack if the wind is crossing her center line from starboard to port.
  • A boat is on port tack if the wind is crossing her center line from port to starboard.

For a boat on a windward leg the maneuvering of the boat to turn through head to wind is also called a tack or perhaps more correctly changing tack. The boat need not be moving forward to change tack although that is the most common situation.

illustrated
File:Tack port upwind.png
File:Tack sail by the lee.png
File:Tack starboard upwind.png
File:Tack port downwind.png
illustrations wanted
File:Tack starboard downwind.png

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