Mark, I have two small sailboats, one being a Laser and the other a Catalina
that is trailerable. Your car would not be appropriate for anything much bigger than a small sailboat due to the need to pull it from slippery boat ramps.
In the grand scheme of things and at your current
desire to sail, even the hourly or daily cost of renting
the 22 foot boats may be your lowest cost option. If you look at everything that goes into even maintaining my little laser, I break things on it all the time and have to tell the wife that another couple of hundred for some new fancy harken
traveller or a broken this or that.
The other option that works, which I am going to do on Wednesday as I am traveling to another city, is to show up for the first time at the weekly yacht club races for thistles, U20's or Flying Scot's or others and just stand there and ask if anyone is looking for crew. I wont know anyone there. I have done this about 10 times and got on a boat all but once. Make sure you are up front with the captain
as to your experience level. They will appreciate the directness.
Secondly, about your dream, I was where you were a few years ago. I took ASA
101-4 and then the 114 cert. What I did after that was to charter
a 39' hunter
and let the poor owner of that boat take the risk of me bareboating in the Tampa area (from Sailing Florida
...a good school
and good teachers there). Then I took the next class and rented a 42 foot Bene for the week from the same place with my son. Then I took the Cat class and rented the cat for a week. Then, I joined Sailopo.com which is a psuedo club that connects pro captains with crew that don't have any or some experience. I can tell you that this was the experience that I needed to gain the skills to safely take my family
on charters (after about 7000 offshore
miles and 12 deliveries mind you). I would encourage you if you can to eventually do a delivery
to get some real world bad weather
, winds and crew of some crabby professional captain
experience.(most are exceptionally nice....most).
The problem with all of this is I now am going to buy a 40 footer and my calculator is saying no. but my heart is saying yes.