Howdy Mark! Welcome aboard the forum.
I've been to Wilmington. You are not too far from many boats (look for boats for sale
in New Bern).
Since you are now learning
by books and DVDs, I will mention two other sources for some sailing videos:
Free videos. Some of voyagers, some of knot
2. Amazon.com "Prime" streaming video service
This gives access to a number of free to see videos about sailing, if you already are an Amazon Prime member
And here is a FREE online resource that many people miss:
3. Free LOADS of sailing info found in the Cruising Wiki linked via this forum site (just look on this forum site for the link on the WIKI tab up on the top menu.)
Good luck and have fun dreaming and then making your dreams come true.