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Old 11-28-2001
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Lee Shores

What is a lee shore?

Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for the question. You're probably familiar with Los Angeles, California. Imagine if you were sailing along the coast there, close to shore, with the wind coming right out of the west and blowing on shore. You would be sailing in what sailors call an on-shore breeze and you would refer to the land as a lee shore because no matter what tack you were on, the land would be to leeward, or downwind of you.

Anytime you're out sailing and there's land nearby to leeward, that's a lee shore. Actually you don't even have to be sailing. You can stand on the beach with the breeze in your face and call the land you're standing on a lee shore.

Veteran mariners know to have a healthy respect for lee shores due to the fact that the wind can easily blow a vessel onto a lee shore should the vessel lose steerage or way. This is an important concept to keep in mind whenever you're out sailing.

To learn more about such terms you might want to pick up a copy of John Rousmaniere's Annapolis Book of Seamanship.  Mr. Rousmaniere offers some very cogent explanations regarding a lot of misunderstood terms and concepts associated with sailing. Here's hoping this information helps you.

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