You may not be keen to race
as a long term goal, but it may be a viable way of getting "sea-miles" under your belt. Crewing
on a racing
boat can be a good environment
. It can sometimes be a little bit "intense" because racing boats are, as a rule
, pushed closer to their limits, and people tend to be a litle more "mouthy" racing as opposed to cruising. Nevertheless, I learned most of my sailing skills on board numerous racing boats. You will probably learn more about good sail trim on a racing yacht, although, possibly, less about good nautical sense and seamanship.
Most yacht clubs will run race
series with varying degrees of importance, from twilight races, which tend to be fairly low-key, to Pennant series, which can get quite serious. Twilight races are a good place to start - ask around on the marina on twilight race evening, and chances are you will get yourself a ride on something every time.
A few sasons of racing on whatever you can get aboard will certainly do you no harm, and will look good on your resume when you try to pick up work on charter