Re: Just wanted to say, hey
Welcome! I used to live in Reston and was happy to move away because of the cost of living (especially housing) there, so I can appreciate your concerns!
I like Paul's suggestion of the ASA course, as that will let you quickly decide whether a sailboat is right for you. I'd also suggest renting a few different types of boats (even just for a few hours) so you get a sense of what they are like. Power boats are great for getting somewhere on a schedule, but they are expensive to operate. Sailboats are great for being more self-reliant, but you have to accept that you're going to average about 5 mph. I disagree with Paul about the cabin issue, a least on smaller boats. Yes, there are some big trawlers with mulitple levels and lots of living space, but when you compare a 25-30' sailboat to a similarly sized, typical 30' power boat, I think you wind up with more cabin space in the sailboat.
As to the "dumb question" issue, trust me, I'll ask MUCH dumber questions than you, so you shouldn't feel bad at all.
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