I tend to agree with Jack being an ex ASA
instructor myself. You will learn quicker and more thoroughly by taking lessons.
Sure, you can teach yourself but there will be nobody there to evaluate and correct you. There will also be nobody there to ask questions of. Man overboard
drills are something where you definitely need feedback from someone who knows what they are doing. Docking
drills are also something you are going to need feedback on regarding how you could have done it better. The same goes for anchoring
and all your other fundamental skills.
Its my own biased view that sailing instructors are better at teaching sailing than your best buddy would be at teaching sailing. Sailing instructor courses teach instructors how to teach. Best buddies have never had these formal teaching courses.
Once you get all the fundamentals down, the rest is just adding to those fundamentals which is something that you can do by simply getting out there and sailing. Reading is mandatory if you are going to be taking a class. You are going to need to study the Rules of the Road for example.
I highly recommend a class, buying
and of course getting out there and doing it as often as possible.