I will probably be chastized for my book suggetion but a few years ago when I first got the sailing/cruising bug I bought Hobie cat
for next to nothing and read front to back in a day "sailng for dumbies". I bought the boat and the book to see if I had what it took to be a sailor and if I liked it at all, being I live for know in West Texas
and only had small lakes to practice on. The book did the trick as far as learing the basics without putting alot of things about ocean sailing as compaired to bay or inland sailing in my head
that to be honest would have only confused me at that time.
I have been reading more about sailing ever since and after learning
the basics the other books
started making more and more sinse to me. I bought a 32' sloop
almost a year ago and just keep reading, sailing and learning
and will be heading out for the Bahamas
in about a year.