My beginning is only slightly different. I sailed and raced radio controlled model sailboats off and on for 30 years before buying a boat. That helped with a little understanding of what was happening and why. Last fall, after much Internet research, including this forum, I bought an O'day 23. I also read a couple of beginners books from US Sailing. I had the good fortune of meeting an experienced sailor on launch day. He was kind enough to help get the boat set up properly and take my son and me out for the first sail. Since then, it has been a trial and error learning experience. Some frightening incidents have occured, but I've learned from those. My wife and I sailed in our first race this summer, and I think that has been one of the better learning experiences. It is QUITE different to try to sail a line, as opposed to just keeping the boat moving. I would recommend racing to any beginner with a little experience. Don't plan on placing very well, but it's a great classroom!
Most of all, pay close attention to wind and water conditions. Don't get in over your head. If you're worried at all, wait for a better day.
Go for it and have fun. As someone else posted, it ain't rocket science.