Ken & Missy- congratulations!! You're about to enter a great lifestyle and hobby. When we started a few years back, we had absolutely zero experience about sailing. My wife thought I was nuts in wanting to learn and buy a sailboat. Today, she's a better sailor than me (and I'll deny I ever said that if you let on about it) and is an avid cruiser.
We learned on a Catalina
25.... we bought the boat, but we knew a bit about boats, just not about sailing. A couple of things I'd sure consider: first, yes, learn on a smaller boat. They react quicker and give you more of a sense of how the wind
, and waves affect the boat. On our Tayana, after I turn the wheel
to tack, I joke that I can go below and make a sandwich and still come back on deck
in time to finish the tack. A lot of sailing clubs have smaller boats (less than 25' or so) in which you can learn to sail. I'd recommend formal instruction. I've met lots of good intentioned and knowledgable sailors, but they don't always know how to teach.
Second, take it slow. The heeling thing and all the lines can be intimidating to some. I have friends whose spouses now 'hate' sailing due to the other sailing too aggesively and taking it too fast. Figure out which one of you is the most conservative, and stay at that pace.
and videos can be a good tool. Lots of them around. We made a trip to our local library and checked out several books and videos on sailing. It didn't replace the lessons, but it gave us a good intro and reinforced the points we learned in class.
As far as sailing lessons
, a quick internet
search or a call to your local parks and rec department, or community college might lead you to nearby classes
. If there are sailboats around, I'll bet classes
are nearby. The harbormaster at the marina might also be able to steer you in the right direction.
And finally, have FUN. Like I said, my skeptical wife even quit her job to be able to cruise
full time. Sailing can be addicting.....
Oh, and if you have kids
.... what a learning and life experience for them. Best thing we ever did.