Sailing is as much about learning from experience as it is from formal training. Here's an article that looks at this in some depth.
Visit Better to stay in a port than to become a statistic (that discusses one of the three people I knew who died at sea in two years, Robin Walbridge on the Bounty tall ship),
See this article on buying a secondhand boat.
See my piece on extreme adventurer Sean Conway'soutlook on life here.