I have been sailing small crafts from 6' (when I was 5) to now 49' off and on for almost 40 years. I have taken dozens of classes and read many books, however I realize more than ever that the things one REALLY needs to know needs to be learned on the job, so to speak. My all time dream is taking off from Los Angeles and sailing the oceans for as long as it takes. I am mostly an island guy however I want to experience it all. I have just begun trying to research as much as I can, from the proper boat to the best way to prepare. I currently have a 49' Beneteau that I sail up the coast and to Catalina quite frequently. However I met someone today that said that I really need to spend a week or so hitting the Channel Islands. I'm just a bit intimidated to do this alone the first time. Almost everything I have learned has been self taught, and while I always appear to be very comfortable at sea, I am never second guessing my decisions. Any ideas on the best way I can spend my time to prepare myself? I also tried to crew on a racing boat however that was completely worthless for off-shore learning. I appreciate anyone who actually read this post and responds. Thank you.