Buy a junk boat
You're right. Buy a boat this is what I did too.
I took several classes like capsizing classes, $90 for 2 hours. Out of 2 hours, one hour I was watching like some fatty tried to swim 8 feet from the stern to the center board to pull it down after two instructors capsized the boat. I took $350/14 hr "weekend bootcamp" class. Nice ladies came to socialize and I spent with them and the instructor 4 hrs in the marina cafe over beer and pizza. A lot of told very interesting stories (charities they do, grandsons they have, poluted environment, dishonest politicians). Then two hours of slow rigging. Then 10 min docking each in between bathroom brakes. Then written tests - everybody passed! Then it was over. Got a little red book, congratulation - you're a sailor.
I do not take any sailing classes ever since. All you need is online USCG safety course (my state, check yours).
My friend runs signmaking shop he made me a few T-shirts "crew available" and "will crew for beer". I put my T and go to the doc. That really works and it's free. But before you have to learn the basic knotts (with one hand!). Google the Internet and practice.