Sailing involves both specific knowledge and skills and for centuries, the sea has captured the spirits of sailors and adventurers all over the world. Breaking into the sailing world can be challenging, but this article will help guide you through the ebb and flood of the nautical world. As a note, this article will help get you started, but it cannot be overstated that before you begin, have an experienced sailor show you the standing and running rigging on your boat and their functions before you venture out on the water on your own.
Know the different parts of a sailboat
It is important to know the different parts both for safety reasons and to be able to sail your boat as efficiently as possible. If you don’t know what to do when someone suddenly yells, “prepare to tack” or “watch the boom!” you may be in trouble
Know common terms used on a sailboat
Aside from the terms used for the different parts of the boat, there are also certain terms that sailors commonly use while at sea (or heading out to sea.) A trick to remember that port is left and starboard is right is that starboard has two ‘Rs’ in it, which is the beginning letter of ‘right’. Starboard, green and right have more letters than port, red and left. You can also keep in mind that "port wine is red"
Understand navigational buoys
It is important to look out for and honour navigational buoys--they'll let you know where the safe water exists. In North America, on your way out of the marina, red buoys are almost always left to port while green buoys are left to starboard. (Remember, Red-Right-Returning). For most of the rest of the world, this is the other way round
Perform a detailed visual check
Inspect all the standing rigging the cables and ropes that support the mast including the turnbuckles and cotter pins securing the rigging to the hull. Many sailboats have dismantled because a 15-cent cotter pin was missing.