I think rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a sailing course you might want to put the money into a small sailing dink and spend a season all by yourself sailing it and observing how the boat responds. You can supplement this by reading a few books but nothing beats one on one with just you and the wind. From there you can move up to larger and larger vessels. When you can dock a full keel boat like an Ensign under just sail alone you can assume you are now compentent enough to take on a larger vessel. It seems too many folks want to jump into a 35 or larger vessel and go cruising by paying for a course and getting a certificate rather than spending time on the water all by yourself.