I'm sorry to see this thread turn into a heated debate. Having read other threads on this and other web sites which turned nasty I cannot imagine such a direction will be beneficial for anyone. Let's hope it doesn't get any worse. Having said that, I can offer a thought or two.
I was taught to sail in a structured program back in 1974, when I was 12. As it was the only sport permitted me, due to medical issues, I really embraced it. Ultimately, I became a sailing instructor and operated a small business to that end. I also sought out sailing opportunities both near and far; the blue water experience -- offered by some truly gracious and open-minded people -- was enough for me to realize I ought to pursue a USCG license, which I earned in 1987 and put to good use for several more years. What a great time it was!
But life has a way of tricking some of us who think we want more from it. I went back to grad school and traded my shorts, t-shirts and bare feet for suits and ties. In doing so, I almost completely gave up sailing for 12 years. At that point I had a chance to step back; it was then that I realized I was missing something that had become important to me long ago.
I've been back on the water now for three years. But I feel far less competent now than before the career change. The long hiatus from sailing was, no doubt, detrimental to my boating skills. While I have maintained the hard-earned license all these years and likely know more than I give myself credit, paper knowledge and practical skill are two different things. As such, I have often thought about seeking out more formal training even if only to fill in the gaps I intuitively feel I now have. And so, FWIW, I too believe that structured instruction by well-versed pros is worthy of consideration -- even for those with plenty of prior experience. As Bubblehead put it in his title, "It is nice to know"!
Last edited by Michael K; 04-03-2010 at 10:58 AM.