For a good basic overview of sailing, I'd recommend The Complete Sailor, by David Seidman. I'd also recommend reading it before taking any courses, as it will give a pretty good foundation that the courses will build on.
After taking a "learn to sail" course like an ASA 101 or equivalent, I'd recommend getting in as much sailing as possible, especially crewing on boats at a local yatch club. Sailing on smaller boats builds your sensitivity to sail balance, trim, handling faster than you would get on a large keelboat. Then take the 102, 103, 104 and 105 courses as you build experience.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.