How do people get started?
So I have been investigating learning to sail for a few weeks now. I found a sailing school nearby and was all set to sign up for Basic Keelboat. Then the practical side of my mind kicked in and I started thinking about sailing opportunities after I learn.
I live in South Carolina about an hour from Lake Hartwell and maybe 3 hours from Charleston. I looked into renting sailboats in those two areas and I only found 1 boat available for rent. (I asked the captain at the sailing school and he claims to have the only rental boat on Lake Hartwell).
I don't own a boat, and it probably wouldn't be a good idea for a brand new sailor to just go and buy one. I don't know anyone with a boat I can borrow. I contacted the local sailing club, but most members own their boats and the small fleet they do have is reserved for youth sailing.
Looking ahead I see buying a 25'-27' to get some more practical liveaboard experience with the family. After a few years of experience and after the kids get a little older I envision a larger boat and longer trips.
So I'm looking for some practical advice. Before I go and plunk down 5 figures for a pocket cruiser only to find out my wife gets seasick and my kids hate the ocean how can I fill in that experience gap between just learning and boat owner? How do most people gain experience after they learn?