When you go to Rome, you do what romans do including how they speak. As a sailor, you have your own language hence the need to be familiar with the jargon used while at sea.
Aft - The back of a ship. If something is located aft, it is at the back of the sailboat. The aft is also known as the stern.
Bow - The front of the ship is called the bow. Knowing the location of the bow is important for defining two of the other most common sailing terms: port (left of the bow) and starboard (right of the bow).
Port - Port is always the left-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow. Because “right” and “left” can become confusing sailing terms when used out in the open waters, port is used to define the left-hand side of the boat as it relates to the bow, or front.
Starboard - Starboard is always the right-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow. Because “right” and “left” can become confusing sailing terms when used out in the open waters, starboard is used to define the right-hand side of the boat as it relates to the bow, or front.
Sourced from: http://www.discoverboating.com/resources/article.aspx?id=243
So now that you know the language that sailors speak, the next thing is getting familiar with the basics. The basics include stopping, turning and handling your vessel.
Learn About Sailboats and How to Sail
Getting started sailing involves learning about sailboats and number of skills needed for sailing. Start here for an introduction to sailboats and basic sailing techniques. Also included are safety on the water, including required safety gear and equipment, and sailing laws and regulations.
Sailing off Wind
“Point of sail” refers to the angle of the sailboat to the direction from which the wind is blowing. Different terms are used for the different points of sail, such as close hauled (sailing close to the wind), beam reach (with the wind sideways over the beam), and running (downwind). The sails are trimmed differently on each point of sail.
How and When to Choose a Sailing School
You don't necessarily need a sailing school to learn to sail (check out other options here). Here's a full plan for determining your needs and selecting the best sailing instruction to meet your goals.
Sourced from: http://sailing.about.com/od/learntosail/
Before you set off for sailing check the engine. You should ensure the batteries have enough power and there is enough oil. When at sea, you will not be able to call out your favorite mechanic so ensure you know a bit of boat mechanic work.
Before sailing check the engine:
Before you set sail the ‘iron genny’ as it is sometimes known; the engine, should always be checked.
Batteries should be well charged. Check the oil. Tanks filled with fuel and if you are going on a long voyage have extra drums of fuel lashed to the deck.
Learn the simple things:
Remember there are no mechanics or garages out on the ocean, if you are sailing solo you need to know enough to get you out of trouble or if you are close to the main land you can call a marine rescue organization, so it’s a good idea to be a member.
How to ‘bleed’ your engine when there is air bubbles in the fuel.
Change fuel filters and how to release water in the bottom of a filter.
How to change belts on the engine.
Make sure hose clamps are secure and there are no leaks.
Sourced from: http://www.sailing-women-on-yachts.com/sailing-solo.html