I had to google
up a Snark! No doubt a small dinghy is a great deal of fun and I am sure folks do learn a lot useful things, but for me they are one step up from a windsurfer! Which is all very good if going into the oggin is all part of the fun for you.......but as you also mention a mid 20's yacht my gut says that you (and the wife?) perhaps not wedded to the idea of getting regularly immersed as part of your learning
The good news is that plenty of boats around that are more staid (and stable), including those that are open dayboats (and weekender with a boom tent if camping afloat (or ashore) your thing). The price
will be less ultimate performance - but that only if boat right way up! Me would go for something more forgiving than a sailing dinghy if the goal is to have fun as well as learn (and put off the wife forever?!). Of course you can rent / join a club for a dinghy experience or training. Indeed, that might be a sensible step before buying
Also just to say that your current
idea of getting time on other people's boats is an excellent one - 1st hand experience of variation of boat (style / capabilities / condition / problems!) will be invaluable when it comes to buying
"the boat", and that includes in cash terms. Also invaluable is experience of differing styles (and capabilities) of Skippers and how crew works (or not!) - useful to see first hand what works / is good - and not!, very useful to understand that their is no single
"right" approach to being a Skipper
even if a lot of commonality in being a good Skipper
. You get to puzzle out what works for you onboard own boat.
Back to the 1st boat thing, one thing you will discover about yachts is that a lot (most?!) of the reason that a boat is suitable for "You" has little to do with sailing!, it's about the other 95% of the time the boat is used and where it is based. In this case sounds like shallow draft
is essential (which rules out a whole swathe of boats - even before you get into sailing performance!) and likely being able to easily trailer her would also be useful, maybe for the odd vacation
elsewhere or simply to take her home for the winter to store (and work on?) in own backyard.....and that again rules out a chunk of boats!.......and then we come onto dull stuff like accommodation. Firstly whether you want (or need) any! and then if so, WTF do you want? For some sitting headroom
and no room to swing a cat is fine, for others a living nightmare.....note we still have not got onto the stuff involving the sails! (and BTW all this applies as much to big boats as to small). On the accommodation front, could be that you won't be sleeping on her and maybe not even bothered about cooking
lunch under shelter. But that alone might not mean an open boat is ok, possibly because the wife not so keen on having a crap in a bucket in view of everybody (real and imagined!) as you (or at least me!) might be!.......on such small things boats and marriages founder.........