Welcome to a wonderful world and a grat sport.
When my wife got interested we took a vacation
and did an offshore school
at Chapman's in FL(the people that wite the BOOK). The fees
included everthing. Food
and shelter (38 foot Endevor), Licensed captain
and teacher. The program allow you to select and 2 of the courses they offered and not everyone had to chose the same.
There were 4 students and the teacher and we spent 10 days sailing in and around the Bahamas
which inlcuded to overnight passages from FL. We learned, practiced, put into use lessons, had the opportunity to learn even more than the classes
offered, had fun, and Vaction in the Bahamas
It was a great way to get offhsore experince, vaction, learn, and the price
was very reasonable. On the drive home from Fl to VA all that my wife said for the whole trip was "can we buy a boat, can we buy a boat..."