I never took lessons. I bought the boat,then the trailer (both from Mass) then the truck to tow it with. This was in December. During the winter, my son and I took a class on Sailing and Seamanship from the USCGA in Portland,ME. I studied Sailing for Dummies (yes, it's real), Sail Trim, The Complete Trailer Sailor and The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. I also have a dvd, Sailing Made Easy. Then, on a lovely day in June, we got her wet and hoisted the main. It was the first time I had ever sailed. Being an engineer, I like to think I have a little more level a head than some adventure seekers out there. That was four years ago. We've sailed about 1200 km miles now. A pittance in some eyes but we feel we've done fairly well. Just don't check out my OTHER posts.
I guess what I'm saying is to take classes if you can, that's best. But if you can't, study like crazy and get out there. Make some mistakes. Clean your shorts. Make a few more and have the time of your life.