Re: Sailing On A Shoestring?
There is a saying that 1 year of racing is equal to 10 years of cruising. That is definitely true as far as sail trim and boat handling, provided you pay attention to what is going on and your skipper is knowledgeable.
I agree with the advice to volunteer as racing crew. There are also online resources, such as SpinSheet with racing crew wanted ads, a crew wanted subforum here, and a racing crew wanted subforum over on Sailing Anarchy.
Keep reading books about sailing and racing and the history of sailboat racing. Take the free BoatUS courses. Take the USCGA courses. Take the Power Squadron courses. There is a lot of useful information you can learn about navigation, piloting and related subjects available.