My brother has a 21' boat and I crew for him from time to time, but I wanted to build my confidence. With a friend I did a 2-hr taster lesson; we liked it, so did a two day RYA course. It was expensive, but great fun.
Me me! I am 48 and have only been sailing for a year. DH has been interested for a while and done his competent crew and day skipper. We bought a boat last year ( 30 foot) and he has sort of trained me in addition to having a day's instruction on our boat with a sailing instructor.
I am actually quite surprised at how much I am enjoying it and really missed it over the winter when the boat was out of the water.
I would get yourself onto some courses and then lots of crew experience before considering taking a boat out on your own especially at sea. If you contact a local sailing club they are bound to put you in touch with the right people or the Royal Yachting Association would be able to tell you of courses in your area.
If your club is RYA approved then just phone them up and ask what they offer for new adult leathers, they should bite your hand off if they're looking for new members. I would try a taster session but on a nice sunny, not too breezy day, then do some level 1 and 2 courses maybe. Once you know the basics you can ask the club organisers if anyone might want a crew, and then you're away! Definitely best to learn on a course that offers singlehanded sailing if you can as well as sailing in a pair or small group on small dinghies like wayfarers, as you learn much more when you're in charge of your own tiller and sail! It absolutely does not have to be expensive. For a summer sailing in the uk you need a buoyancy aid (club might be able to Lend you one) and some gloves. Hang on, back in a tick
A wetsuit will make the whole experience much more fun - I'd try and beg or borrow one for the first few times, then once you know you want to continue Crewsaver do seem affordable sailing oriented styles, or you can sometimes get super cheap ones in supermarkets, but you will get what you pay for there. You can start in trainers, then progress to a simple sir of boots, maybe a rahsvest, some sunglasses, and that's all you'll need until about October!
If your club isn't geared up for adult beginners then most coastal areas have teaching centres that should be able to help you out but if you learn at the club you'll have a little network of people you know from the outset.
Have a look at the RYA website, and google newtosailing for more info. It's a fab fab sport for life, give it a go!
my club is small so will try the one further up the coast to do a few taster sessions, just to make sure I like it! Then maybe a level one.
There is one thing holding me back a bit though. Although I can swim, I'm not that confident in deep water. I'm hoping as I will be wearing a bouyancy aid, it won't matter too much? How much time am I likely to spend potentially drowning!!
Just got to get the lingo sorted now and gen up on starboard, port side, tacking etc...
I'm not super confident IN the water either, but you are always very near to a big floaty thing (even if it's sometimes upside down!). A good beginners course will get you in the water plenty on a nice day so you get acclimatised to capsizing. It will happen, but modern dinghies are so light it's not a big drama. Don't worry, sailing is a very safe sport.