how necessary are lessons?
I'm pondering how high a priority I should put on finding instruction (not necessarily formal lessons, more likely just sailing with experienced skippers).
I'm no stranger to boats, and can happily sail around aimlessly (I can even lay a course with set and drift, which is more than some). I've never raced, and have no idea how to bend a mast to change the shape of a sail.
Would I be a fool to pick a light day and go tack around? Should I carefully wait until I've spent more time on boats of a similar size? Should I take a bazillion courses and get a million certifications before I leave the marina? I really feel like I should d*mn well just go and make my own mistakes, but I still have enough rational thought left to question this foolish idea.
How great a store do you set by whatever CYA/AYA courses or racing as compared to old fashioned learning?