I figure that's how to do it: Just jump in.
I just bought two boats: A Columbia C-31 needing a fair amount of work and a Victoria 18 that just needs a skipper. Now I just have to learn how to sail...
My parents always said I took apart everything I owned, and I guess sailing's no difference. I figure I'll learn a good bit that way. Reading on this site has proved to be a tremendous resource!
Anyway... if you see a guy out in the Chesapeake that doesn't look like he knows what he's doing... wave to me.