I was crew on a Fisheries Patrol boat the summer I was 16 yrs old. The government contracted individuals to do fish counts on significant streams, and a fellow was hired to tend one of these streams (in Kynoch inlet)
He arrived in Bella Bella and I was elected to guide him there (about 50 nm). We left under power and after a while the engine overheated and we "had" to sail... I found it very pleasant. Don't remember the boat exactly but it was around 36 feet, woody classic S&Sish from the 50s or 60s IIRC.
Later moved to the interior for a short time and sailed a couple of times with a friend on a nearby lake, on a Davidson 18 (small Cal 20), I thought that was cool too, but with really nowhere to go, and I knew the coast would offer more.
Moved to the coast and immediately bought our first boat, a 24' Shark. Great starter, we were mostly self taught after our friend from the lakes came to help us sail her home on day one. It blew close to 20k everyday in the area where we lived, so the curve was pretty steep.
One unfortunately unpleasant and ill advised "offshore" jaunt Victoria to California in 1986 proved how much we had yet to learn. (on someone elses boat)
From 24' to 28' in first year, to 40' ten years later, and back to 35' twelve years after that and here we are.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)