Re: Are sailing schools worth it?
Just got back from doing a sailing school with my wife. We already had the "sailing" part down pretty well, as we have a 26' boat on a small lake, but what we really wanted (and received in spades) was a boost in confidence for handling larger boats and/or larger water. My biggest goal for the class was for my wife to gain confidence steering the boat, as she had up until the class pretty much refused to take the tiller of our boat, she now is saying that she feels confident enough to take it [our boat] out by herself on the lake..I call that a win. Other than a few pointers on sailing technique, the main things we learned/gained confidence in were anchoring, navigation, crew overboard recovery, picking up mooring balls, dealing with clearing in/out (we were in the Virgin Islands), busy harbors, etc. 100% worth it to us. Plus it was just plain good old fashioned fun cruising around in the the islands.
If what you really want to do though is sail a small boat on a small lake or inlet, then you would probably be better served to buy a small boat and sail it, but if you want to go to more far flung places and "cruise" a larger boat, then do the courses [and buy the smallish boat to practice on]. IMO
S2 7.9 - Fast, Fun, and Beautiful!