Scarlet, as one woman to another: Get yourself a small trailerable sailboat, RIGHT NOW! :-) Don't worry so much about the silly books
. This is a hands-on activity. Books only take you so far. You'll be better prepared for the tests than 90% of your classmates anyway, I can tell.
Seriously, get that little boat, and day-sail the heck out of it on whatever lake or pond is near you, all summer long. Don't worry about "sailing" lakes; we are talking small boat here -- even a pond will do. Then when you do that week-long course, you will get something out of it. And besides, it will be really fun and get you psyched. Or you'll hate it (but almost nobody does) and go RVing or something when you retire.
This is how my best cruising friends from my 2 years in the Caribbean
in the 90s got into it. At work, they were asking people to take a layoff/buyout and he came home one day with a copy of Cruising World and asked her "what do you think?" They were living in Denver and knew zero about sailing. They bought the trailerable sailboat and learned on a local lake. They liked it (of course!) and took buyouts, went to Florida
, found a boat, bought it, hired a captain
to go with them to the Bahamas
and back for a week or two. After that trip, they fixed some stuff, provisioned, and headed out. I met them in Chub Cay the second week of my 2 years out there. We never officially traveled together (neither of us are buddy-boaters), but shared many anchorages
. They stayed out 5 years to my 2, went back to work, then retired a couple of years ago for real. They are in the Bahamas right now and I can't wait to share an anchorage with them again.
Get the little boat and start learning to sail. You have talked about six figure boats in your future. Invest a low 4 figure amount (or less, but a decent trailer is important so don't go too low!) and get yourselves out on the water
NOW! This summer! Now!