With most sailors I know, sailing education starts at a very young age. I never had formal sailing school experience, but fumbled through the school of hard knocks, starting on day sailers when 7-8 years old at summer camp fresh water lakes. While growing up around newport, RI, several friends had HobieCats, Ensigns and Shields which I shagged on occasionally, honing my interest in ocean boating.
Additionally, every tropical vacation destination with my family, included taking out resort sailboats from beaches. I've owned 8 boats within 30 years, but my first sailboat was the Nauticat 33, which I currently own. Again, no formal training, but lots of practice and lots of books. If you have a will, you will find a way.
True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat