Having read over this thread, and not being terribly experienced, I offer the following small comment:
It is amazing how much there is to learn about sailing.
My wife and I just completed an ASA
103/104 sailing class after about 8 months of very frequent lake sailing and one charter
. Living on a boat for 6 days and taking the class did not make us knowledgeable sailors. It made us capable of the basics and showed us how much there is to learn. While the 4 grand or so needed for both of you to complete this course will reduce your cruising budget
, the knowledge you gain will likely save you more money
, and time, in the long run.
You don't know what you don't know until you find out. Perhaps it would be good to find out with an instructor in controlled conditions rather than alone offshore