Hi Jess, and welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous. Oh, wait a minute, wrong forum.
Traveling to other countries with a pet--any pet--is going to be problematic. Cruising with a cat onboard, a stopper for many sailors who just don't want to know about livestock and litter boxes. And, sadly, cats don't understand "Stay out of the water when there's no lifeguard on duty!".
I'd suggest checking out the local yacht clubs to find out which ones have weeknight and weekend racing programs. Racers *always* are looking for pickup crew, and if you simply get to the docks before the boats are leaving (often an hour before race start times) wearing appropriate boat shoes, with your own sailing gloves, etc., there's usually someone who had crew cancel and is willing to settle for an eager willing body rather than nothing at all.
If you ask around, sometimes the clubs keep a "crew available" list, sometimes folks are willing to chat and just take you out for a day ride to help you get started.
Be honest about your experience, ask around, let folks know they can get you on short notice if they need crew, and you'll find you can pick up a lot.
If you're not interested in racing--do it anyway. Racing may have too much mucho and overdrive, but it also teaches you how to sail fast and sail well, and those skills transfer right over into cruising and daysailing.