Virgin Sailboat Shopper
Paul, the realities of the marketplace - and the nature of boats, as well - will dictate that after you buy your $70K, 36-40'' boat, you will be spending a lot of time learning about maintaining boat systems vs. learning to sail. (Is that what you are looking for?)That size boat will generally be equipped with pressure water, ''semi-smart'' 12V electrical systems, etc. and, because of its age (dictated by your budget) will also abound in previous owner-installed add-ons (some perhaps not well done) and rig/engine/thru-hulls/etc. in need of servicing or perhaps even repair/replacement. This is just the nature of more complex boats that have seen 8-10-12 years of service.
Personally, I find this one of the most rewarding aspects of boat ownership, but I''m in a small minority of sailors most of whom own sailboats so they can sail them. If sailing is your and your wife''s primary interest, I''d suggest you seek out some local clubs and enjoy some first-hand sailing before venturing into boat ownership, and especially ownership of a larger, more maintenance intensive boat.