It's too bad you had a bad experience and didn't get a good start. I absolutely believe you should have the knowledge and the right kind of training to give you a level of confidence on the boat. It can be done. Sorry I'm not local!
For what it's worth, there is no single
one best way for everyone to learn. Most people learn sailing best via a mix of book/class learning
, instruction or sailing with experienced sailors, and practice and experiment
-- but everyone is different. You want to find a skipper/instructor who will first listen to you and not make light of your concerns. They do exist, but of course you'll want to interview potential teachers carefully and not disregard any gut feelings you get.
"Dragged Aboard" is a pretty nice book. It's focused on people who are considering the cruising/liveaboard lifestyle, but besides all the stuff about making life on the boat more comfortable, it has some good general materials about making sailing more comfortable. In fact, there seems to be a whole "reluctant first mate" sailing sub-genre, and programs such as Womanship that try to empower new women sailors by getting them into a different sort of sailing learning
While its sometimes necessary that there be one and only one skipper
on board in critical situations, in general skippers have a very strong obligation to explain and orient their crew so as to minimize unpleasant surprises and make the whole experience more enjoyable for everybody. Of course, it can be tough for the relatively inexperienced skipper
(and even for some experienced skippers) to focus on boat handling, safe navigation
, sail trim, other boats and hazards, and simultaneously be a good, patient teacher.