OK, I learned the mainsail has sections like luff, leech, foot, and clew. So does the jib sail, and both are attached to the mast by what I swore were ropes but are called lines.
There’s also the Cunningham, the outhaul, the boom vang, and other weirdly named things that allow you to use points of sail, something with its own head-spinning vocabulary.
And we hadn’t even left the dock.
“Don’t worry about the terms, I don’t expect you to remember them,” said instructor Brian Kelley, “It’s just for background.”
Luckily, I wasn’t alone. Nor are the many others taking lessons at Sail Newport, a nonprofit in its 30th season of teaching the art of sailing to tens of thousands over the decades. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.