Deed of Gift: (dated October 28, 1887): The document that sets forth rules for the America's Cup races. The two-page document was prepared by George L. Schuyler, owner of the schooner America, which won the 100 Guinea (America's) Cup in 1851 at Cowes, England. Schuyler donated the Cup to the New York Yacht Club where he was a member, and designated the New York Supreme Court as arbitrator over any disputes involving the Deed. It was 100 years before the court arbitrated a dispute between the defender and challenger. The dispute involved New Zealander Michael Fay's attempt to block the San Diego Yacht Club and Dennis Conner from sailing a catamaran against his 133-ft monohull in what became the biggest mismatch in the history of America's Cup.

Defender: the yacht club that holds the Cup (presently Societe Nautique de Geneve in Switzerland and the entity undertaking that yacht club's defense — in this case, Alinghi).

Challenger of Record: the yacht club that issued the challenge accepted by the Defender yacht club under the terms of the Deed of Gift. For the 32nd America's Cup Regatta, the Challenger is the Golden Gate Yacht Club represented by BMW Oracle Racing.

Appendage: any element outside the hull up to the sheerline but excluding bowsprits

Batten: a thin flexible fiberglass strip inserted into the batten pockets in the leech of the mainsail to support the leech

Bowsprit: a large spar (pole) projecting forward from the stem of a ship

Draft: the depth of water a ship draws especially when loaded

Headsail: a sail set forward of the foremast

Hull: the body of the yacht up to the sheerline, not including the deck and appendages

Mainsail: the principal sail on the mainmast

Sheerline: the line formed by the intersection of the deck and the hull

Spinnaker: a large triangular sail set on a long light pole, used when running before the wind

Upwind: in the direction from which the wind is blowing