The most important thing to do is GO SAILING. I first did that by taking ASA
101 103 and 104. I found the instructors to be gold mines of information and willing to answer questions all day long. Yes, it was tiring since they purposely put us through the paces non-stop but sailing is very much a learning-by-doing sort of thing. And there is so much to learn about the various systems on a large boat it is a very good idea to have someone show you how to do it the first time out.
And as for a lot of work, it really depends how you want to do it. If you are tired of tacking back and forth all day when you have your own boat you can just motor
for a while. Some people are very macho about sailing every inch of the way but the fact is, it is supposed to be FUN. And when I am out cruising between islands there is no reason I have to go ANYWHERE on any given day.
A note on the hard
work - My sister and brother in law came with my wife and me on a Moorings charter
after taking a one week vacation/course on a keelboat in the Bahamas
. They were very happily surprised at the fact that self tailing
winches are so much easier to use than the old fashioned kind. Lazy jacks were news also. Just goes to show that the boat you were on doesnt necessarily have the various modern conveniences that make sailing easier. You can be downright lazy and still sail around just fine. Guess how I know this.