SloopJohnB makes some good points that I tend to agree with. I'll add a little. I believe it takes a special person/couple to be "live a boards". If you are that type, you will love it. If you're not, you will find out before very long. So do your best to find out before making any big commitments. I have sailed for 50 years (off and on). It's a passion for me. Until recently, I never took much formal training. The training is good but you need to do it to have it engrained. It is like driving a car with a clutch. It is safest when you don't have to think about using the clutch and shifting gears. It enables you to focus on the road and other drivers. I have only been in really tough situations 3 or 4 times when sailing. If I hadn't had the basics down pat, I'm not sure I'd be here now. Those times make great stories but they are scary at the time. Taking a course will not prepare you - just like reading how to use a clutch and shifting gears won't.
Also, on the shower - forget that. Just go to the camping section in walmart and get a sun shower for $10. It's the only thing practical for most boats under 35'. In a 30' boat, cruising is like "camping on the water" (but lots more fun).
Last edited by harbin2; 03-01-2012 at 10:23 AM.