The leading edge of a sail in a fore-and-aft rig. ‘Hold your luff’, an order to the helmsman of a sailing vessel to keep the vessel sailing as close to the wind as possible and not allow it to sag down to leeward.
When used as a verb, ‘luff’ is an order to the helmsman to bring the ship's head up closer to the wind by putting the helm down, or to leeward. In yacht racing, to luff an opponent is to come up closer to the wind, or even head to wind if necessary, to prevent the opponent overtaking to windward, a legitimate procedure under the racing rules.
Subjects: Maritime History.