Duane pretty much explains it for me. After some reflection though, I really learned to sail extensively on 15'' sloops, and then spent some time crewing aboard 30'' boats on weekend trips. So, you could say that I learned to sail on smaller boats as everyone here has been recommending.
However, the point I was trying to make is that the 40''s I''ve sailed were actually easier to sail than the 30''s for a number of reasons. First, because of furling technology, I didn''t have to actually raise the sails, just furl and unfurl them. The 30''s I sailed didn''t have either sailed rigged for furling.
Secondly, the larger the boat, the longer it seems to take to manouver, so, you have a little more time work things out. (OK, if you''re trying to get out of a bad situation, this is not an advantage)
Thirdly, the 40''s were probably more heavily ballasted and heeled less, and so when coming about, I wouldn''t be thrown from one high angle of heel to the same high angle on the other tack which tends to distract a novice during a critical manouver