Rather interesting reading the posts on this subject. I'm wondering how many folk on this forum took any 'formal' training when it comes to sailing.
My own intro to sailing as a young boy was with a model yacht club where we raced home-made sail boats of the "Marblehead" class. These craft were one metre in length, about nine inches wide with a five foot mast
were adjusted manually. They were free sailing craft and there was no such thing as R/C in those days.
This hobby gave me the knowledge of how and why a boat
sails. It was some 20 years later that I finally got to sail in a 20 foot Osprey I built myself for a friend. That only lasted one summer on a small lake as he moved far away with his boat.
Running a business and starting a family
kept me from my passion for a few more years until I was able to purchase
a new 20 foot 'Cygnus' fin-keel day-sailer designed by the man who designed the world class 'Shark'.
I joined a local sailing club and participated in all the club races of a very mixed fleet, using the Portsmouth handicap rating system.
I learned a lot in those races and learned it very quickly. We also took in a few Power Squadron courses on basic boating
. A few years later we moved to the Vancouver area form London, Ontario
Our first sailing experience here was from Crescent beach marina to the Canadian Gulf Islands. Part way across the Straits, we encountered for the first time a pod of Orcas which scared the hell out of us ... they were bigger than our boat and we knew nothing about them or their habits.
A few years later, we traded our day-sailer for a Shark so that we could cover more territory, which we did, and are still doing, although we now sail a 'bigger' 24 foot full keeled cutter
that I built myself.
So how about a show of hands, how many are self taught on this Forum?