That all sounds like a scheme. I don't entirely agree with the rail meat racing
. You can pick up some points by racing
eg tide and wind
shifts etc but the thinking will probably not be articulated and thus known to you, nor will what other people are doing and why.
The basics of sail trim and steering
need practice and learning
by experience. It is amazing how much difficulty people have learning
to use a tiller, automatically, though ultimately you will probably have a wheel
A basic sailing course even for a week or so would be a good idea. As would be starting with a dinghy
or trailer sailer.
You may well find that there are older people without crew who are limited in their ability to take out their boats, who would welcome regular crew and say a hand with the odd jobs (also useful) who would be happy to teach you thus getting more use out of the boat. That form of teaching is explaining why and getting you to practice it under supervision. Steering
say seems simple, but is effected by wind
and tide and requires knowledge of the rules of the road and in effect defensive driving. The plus for the owner is that eventually he gets a crew he can rely on.
Racing crews tend to have a defined limited role, even where many have a wider knowledge. The difference with your own boat is that you have to take responsibility for everything. That level presumes competence in the basics first.
The RYA courses are also very good, and you can work through the levels as your practical experience builds up.
On a practical level a period of living on board is also useful although it is a big leap from a week in the sun to long term. It would also be a good idea to test out your response to a passage
particularly with some heavy weather
. Fear and sea sickness
can have a practical impact on fantasised scenarios.
It is important that your wife participates, (women only courses being especially helpful) because she will at times be in charge.
To add to the mix a few sundowners and a good meal in a quiet bay after a pleasant sail are much a part of the process, and should be a regular part of the learning mix, not just for pleasure, but to keep you both happy and motivate learning.