Thanks again to everyone for advising me to go with the closer Lake Washington vs Puget Sound. Best advice I got and worked really great for me. Over the last 2 months, I was able to go sailing about 20 times which would never have happened if I went to Puget Sound right away.
I'm now thinking of venturing further out from Lake Washington to Lake Union. I checked the heights for both Montlake Bridge and University Bridge and our 22' club boat can pass even with the bridges closed. I also looked at the NOAA charts
for the route and looks like shallows and hazards are fairly well marked. I'm planning to bring down sails once in Union Bay and just motor through the channel till we get to Lake Union.
For those familiar with this area, can you please advise if this is reasonable for a newbie of my skill level? Are there gotchas I should be aware of or regulations specific to passing through the Lake Washington Ship Canal other than the usual rules of the road?