Re: asa school vs buying own 20-30ft and teach self?
When I wanted to start sailing there were no classes on the small inland lake in Indiana where we had a cottage. I found a cheap sailing dingy and bought a book on sailing. read the book and practiced every chance I got. When my kids were small we bought a sunfish and sailed the heck out of it. When the wind was blowing whitecaps we were out there tipping it over and having the time of our lives.
Now I live in NC and sail the Cape Fear region. I have sailed with a lot of different people on a lot of different sailboats. Every time I go out I learn something new, even when single-handling my own boat. Nothing beats experience, especially when backed up with knowledge.
I agree with a previous poster, buy a small boat and learn your sailing skills on the lake and your seamanship manners on saltwater.
Experience teaches us things we would rather not know.
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S/V Shakti '81 Offshore Cat Ketch 33'