Thirty years ago, my wife and I sailed a San Juan 21 for a month, from Anacortes in Washington to the Canadian Gulf Island. Though these days we cruise off shore in boats as big as the Valiant 42, I still consider my trip in the San Juan 21 the most fun I've ever had. Cruising at its simplest...just sailed, anchored or tied up to a provincial dock, ate what we caught or could dig up, read by kerosene lamp and woke up to the Pacific Northwest mist. No worries, almost no maintenance because we had no systems to speak of. A little cheap weather radio
was the only electronics we had, and navigation was by charts
and bearing compass
. We did carry a huge backup storm anchor
and a lead line
for sounding. Those were the good old care free days before big boats. Well, we were a lot younger and suppler then.
You are doing the right thing learning to sail in a small responsive boat. If possible, joint a SJ 21 fleet and do as much racing as you can. Don't be embarrassed for coming in last or making a fool of yourself, we have all been there. It is the best way to learn to sail. You never know, thirty years from now when you are cruising in you big complicated boat, you too may look back fondly.