I am not of the salty type whatever, but I can give you this advice
that you grow fastest learning
from the best. Try to sail with skippers who are known to have excellent skills and watch them. Try to sail with crews who are known to be good crews, and watch them. Participate, to the largest extent possible.
Place experience over knowledge. To know is not to be able to. You can catch up with any gaps in your knowledge/licensing during long winter
evenings. But you cannot catch up with lack of skills when you are caught in a squall.
Also, do not delay being the driver. Start with a beach boat
close to a safe beach, then develop. My personal preference will always be to see new sailors
become 100% competent with small dinghies before building sea going skills. I believe ability to sail small and easily tipped over craft is a basic sub-component of all other sailing modes. You get wet, you get knocked about, you soon learn to avoid the worst mistakes
. You build feeling of what the boat
wants to do and what it does not want to do.
Also, if you get yourself into a rough passage
, keep your cool. Rough weather
can be pretty nerve rocking the first couple of times. It is not something we do everyday. You will get to accept this, maybe even like it, over time. Again, in controlled environment
, sail as many rough miles as you can. Making too many mistakes
in strong winds and rough waters can be costly. Build adequate skills before you need them in blue open waters.
Learn sailing in calms too. Take a Laser on a lake on a flat day see what can be done. See where the wind
comes from and at what times. How the clouds bring, or take away your breeze. How your boat and sail trim affect what the boat is doing. See the importance of keeping the momentum and the flow. Build patience and see that this is too part of what sailing is.
The in-between is basically all easy stuff then.
Bueno. Take care, and have fun sailing!
Welcome to the forum.