Volunteering to help out at the marina, especially on boats that you crew on is a good way to learn maintenance and repair skills. Many people do a lot of the own work and can use a helping hand, especially with bigger projects.
I'd point out that many of the "repair" skills are a subset of the skills used to maintain a boat. Repairing an engine and maintaining an engine are often quite similar in nature, with the exception that maintenance often prevents the need to do a repair. For instance, replacing the impeller annually is maintenance, replacing a broken impeller is a repair—and often the result of not replacing the impeller on a regular basis—the steps are the exact same, unless some of the blades have gotten separated and lost in the cooling system, and the tools and parts required are pretty much the exact same.
Most of the skills need to do even major boat repairs and modifications are 95% common sense and 5% esoteric knowledge. Unfortunately, the common sense is sadly often the missing ingredient, since the 5% esoteric knowledge can be learned from books, other sailors, self-taught, in classrooms, on websites and forums, and such.
sailingdog - Thanks for all this advice. Even though it wasn't directed at me, this is exactly what I was looking to ask. Where would you suggest acquiring boat repair skills?
I have the medical and practical stuff (EMT and cook on sailboat in Baltic Sea) as well as the sailing experience but want to learn the boat repair stuff. How do I do that?
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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