ASA Sailing Terms Quiz

Sailing Terms Quiz (III)

How about another awesome ASA quiz, where you get compliments or a wisecrack. The last two have been about terminology and we’ve had feedback saying that they were too easy. Here’s a quiz generated from our Sailing Made Easy textbook designed to be a bit more challenging. Good luck!

  • To “fake”, or “flake”, a line means to
    1. Coil it tightly Incorrect but at least you’re neat!
    2. Inspect it with a pilometer or similar tool for chafing. Pilometer? We made that word up!
    3. Lay it out so it can run freely. That is right and your intelligence is inspiring.
    4. Splice with another line of a similar dimension and material. Not right. Hit the books!
  • While sailing close hauled, the windward telltale on the jib dances up and the leeward telltale flies straight. To get them both flying straight again you should
    1. Head up towards the wind. That won’t do it…
    2. Head down and away from the wind. Yes! You know how to trim a sail!
    3. It is impossible for both leeward and windward tales to fly straight on this point of sail. If you picked this one, you have not been sailing your best. Try again.
    4. Adjust the location of the telltales as they are placed on the sail. Chances are your telltales are ok. You just got the question wrong.
  • “Sailing by the lee” is:
    1. Potentially dangerous. Correct! You withhold great understanding. Kudos!
    2. A reference that has little to do with sailing. It has plenty to do with sailing. Back to your studies!
    3. Sailing in waters that are less in depth than twice the draft of any given vessel. That sounds important but it’s not the right answer.
    4. Another term for “heaving to”. It is not another term for anything. Might want to look this up in Sailing Made Easy
  • What is a “topping lift”?
    1. A sudden shift in wind direction of at least 15-degrees. Incorrectamundo!
    2. A rugged piece of hardware usually found in boatyards and seldom actually on board a sailboat. That answer be the wrong answer!
    3. Something that supports the boom when it’s not being supported by the sail. Yes! Your brilliance radiates!
    4. A knot used for raising, restricting and/or managing high payloads. The ol’ “topping lift knot” huh? No, that’s not right.
  • “Apparent wind” is:
    1. The wind as it purely exists. No, that’s “true” wind.
    2. The wind speed as it relates to where it just was and where it will likely go next. Sometimes in life, we guess. Please try again.
    3. another term for “wind chill factor”. Afraid not. We still believe in you though.
    4. The wind as it exists combined with the wind generated from your movement. Correct! This quiz respects you!
Click on an answer above to start!
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The quizzes should be a bit more challenging please.

Rick Bertram

I’d like to see more of this type of refresher. I’d suggest a monthly email. Thanks


I got all 15 correct. Do I win the ASA lottery?

Captain david sweitzer
Captain david sweitzer

I agree with Gregg. More challenging. Take the quizzes to another level.

Jack Kosten

I got 5 put of 5 correct on all three quizzes! I remembered more than I thought I would.
Captain Jack


Enjoyed these and would like to have more review questions and even more challenging ones. Thanks

Jayne Elliott

Great refresher – please keep the quizzes coming!


From decades ago, I remember being told that there were only a limited number of ropes on a boat. They were attached on only one end, as opposed to a line, attached at both ends. Is this true and what are they?

Pete Begich

The simple answer is: When you buy cordage at a hardware store, it is called a rope. Once you have attached that rope to a vessel, it is a line…there are no ropes on boats and ships…they are lines and each has a name…e.g. halyard, sheet, dock line, etc.


boltrope although they are rare these days…mostly on gaff rigged vessels


there is rope on a boat, it is made of wire.

Captain Rick

Excellent quizzes! They were good to get behind the ‘cobwebs’ and back to basics.

Erik Wiedmann

I just got my 101 and 104 Certs. so this was kind of a refresher. I appreciate the quizzes it keeps you on your toes. I would appreciate more advanced questions concerning trimming and also rules of navigation right of way. Keep up the good work.


Got 15 right but would like to get 30 right. Is it ok to retake the quizz?


Of course. Take the quiz as many times as you like. The goal here is to learn 🙂

Paul Buckley

my topping lift was always attached to the spinnaker pole (when in use that is)

Chris Fletcher

“Baggy wrinkles”. As in “get your baggy wrinkles out of my way so I can steer”. I thought it a term of endearment, but do you know what it means ( I’ve learned since).