I mean you can just pass a basic license
a boat with ZERO experience if you wanted to.. would not reccomend it
watch "ode to credit card captains" on youtube for what that looks like
However if you want to learn the skills needed to sail, maintain your own boat one day, anchor
or enter a marina without incident the best way is to volunteer on a racing
boat for everything and anything they need. It's not necessary for it to be a racing
boat however the do sail the most and push the boats so you will learn all kinds of things that a weekend sailor would not even attempt.
I recently started to sail after a hiatus on small bathtubs that was 20 years ago in the same way.
Went to a local marina and asked a guy who i knew was going aroun on regattas if he would be willing to take me out and teach me and offered any help whatsoever around the boat needed.
Well after going out 2 times in front of the marina where we were becalmed or at best had 3knt of wind
that same weekend i ended up on a regatta
on a bow hoisting the spinaker and what not at 20+ knots of wind(thrills you cannot imagine).
Since then every weekend i am sailing in OPEN class on a Jeanneau
One design 35 and having a blast.
If you start just accept there will be mistakes
and the skipper
will be pulling his hair at some of the things you make that in retrospect i wonder how i managed but if you are bitten by the bug it all pales in comparison with the enjoyment you get out of it.
Halyards,spreaders, winches, travellers, backstay, forstay it makes no sense at the beggining but soon you can actually see how it actually all goes together. I'we read a ton of books
on sailing but i guess i'm more of a visual person and until i saw how it all actually works it was just a ton of information floating in my brain.