one option you have not yet considered-- other peoples boats. crew for others in areas you think would be interesting. there are crew lists for this, as well a s cruising the marinas
and yachtie clubs
yard time is a plus--if you spend yard time with a potential option, is easier to find crew slot while boat is in water
learn all you can before buying
the boat. many are to be had under 10k--you must be present to find these deals. some are good some are obviously horror shows. learn to identify each before you get into a neverending repair situation.
sailing opb also gives you a feeling for different boats so you can figure out what to buy instead of depending on forum responses out of deskjockey hell.
not everyone likes same characteristics of boat--and all boats are different. sail as many as you can before you settle into something more than you bargained for.
i was most lucky. i watched this boat deteriorate next to my mooring
in san diego
for about 3-4 yrs, then i was able to buy for under 10k. boat was not yet deteriorated so much as to be unsailable--so i removed her to mexico
and repair her now, system by system in exotic locales after running her reasonably hard for 3000 miles. i know what this boat needs to make her right for me.
i have sailed different boats since 1955, so i got to know what i wanted to long distance sail --and sailed a lot of friends boats long and short trips-- away from home and at home.
opb present opportunities to learn what you like without the initial investment with each lesson.
buy your boat later.
btw--i am not only OLD, but i have a 40ish ft OLD boat and i am a female.