Yup! I have learned WAY more in this forum, than I learned in the 12 week Marine Electrical Systems certification course. I should have added; go to Maine Sail's blog/gallery and learn from that too.
The OP didn't specifically ask for certifications (which, in my experience, are worth squat*), but he asked for a way to learn how to maintain his own vessel. Quoting the OP;
The guy's got a year, and wants to learn more about everything. I believe that buying a boat, research and practice, is the best way to get there.
He also said that IYRS was on the pricy side...
* - (After graduating, I had the opportunity to work an internship: either detailing boats, or be yard monkey.)
But your "certifications" course was not an ABYC course....... The ABYC electrical certification exam is almost 5 hours long and quite in-depth. I would not consider anyone who's passed the electrical exam to be worth "squat" at all. Some pass the test and are worse off than others, just like doctors, but to pass that test means you at least have an idea how to trouble shoot, understand 120V, 240V, 12V & 24V systems etc. etc.. To take most class room electrical courses without any "real world" experience, IMHO, only gives you half the needed knowledge, the "book side".
The Landing School is very much taught with both sides and is very much hands on, not just "book" along side the safety standards and the books.
The Landing School is excellent and most come out of there very competent. Like anything you get out of it what you put into it.. The Landing School is also not inexpensive but it is excellent and their graduates are highly sought after. Also the final exams at the Landing School are the ABYC certification exams so you come out of there ready to work at any good yard with the certifications the yards want to see, ABYC....