To return to the original topic, yes, small boat (dinghy) sailing does develop your ability to feel the effect of wind
, waves, and sail trim better than sailing bigger boats. However, people CAN
learn how to sail on big boats without first learning
I sailed boats for nearly 20 years before trying to master a sailboard and have to say that the skills required to sail a board are not the same as those required to sail a small boat. Never the less, board sailing should teach you how to read the wind and help you understand the basics of sail trim. As Jim said two posts up, "I think the OP will do just fine..."
My recommendation to Air Head
is to sail as much as you can in small boats but don't hold up your keel
boat training for it. You might be surprised how long the sailing season really is in PNW.