I don't have the sense that the op is opposed to gaining practical experience, or has any illusions that a fasttrack course leading to the YM Coastal will turn him into an instant expert. He just wants to begin with some quality training, preferably though a high quality formal programme that results in an entry-level qualification. The RYA is perfect for that.
Tyrone, a recent book that might well be of interest: Sue Pelling, "Sail for a Living" (Wiley, 2011). I think you'll find it contains lots of useful information.
Alternatively, if you want to consider the suggestion that you simply buy a boat and cruise
privately, check out the following:
1) Ann Vanderhoof, "An Embarrassment of Mangoes: a Caribbean
Interlude" (Doubleday Canada
2) Bill and Laurel Cooper
, "Sell Up and Sail", 5th ed. (Sheridan, 2006).
Originally Posted by goboatingnow
The company will ensure you get the necessary sea miles with command eerience.
David Old Jersey is correct: there will not typically be any bona fide command experience on fasttrack YM courses. Students serve as designated skippers for individual passages >60 nm, but with an instructor aboard to hold their hand.