Join Date: Apr 2006
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ppop, I'd suggest taking a basic sailing course (typically 3 days split into two weekends) to learn how the mechanics of it work and get comfortable with it. Followed by a "bareboat" course, which typically is a week aboard a larger boat, living on it and sailing it and learning boat systems.
No, that's not the cheapest way to go but it gives you a solid foundation and a chance to make sure the surprises won't be expensive ones. And it can even be a fun vacation.