My advice is STOP everything and go talk to the folks at Club Nautique in Alameda. They will teach you seamanship with excellent on the water classes and after you pass different levels they will allow you to charter different boats at very reasonable rates. From this you will learn many things: 1) if boating is for you 2) what you really want in a boat 3) that unless you really plan and can liveaboard, that it is MUCH cheaper to rent through them than to own. 4) after some nights on board, how you would really like living on board. They have a Mainship 430 Trawler that I have cruised many times, and some smaller boats to get your sea legs on. This was the best money I ever spent on boating,and I wasn't even that much of a "newbie", having previously owned a 32' Tollycraft and rented smaller boats. What I learned both in seamanship and about boats in the years I belonged there has made a world of difference. At first it allowed us to enjoy the bay and Delta with no boat ownership hassles, and to charter boats all over the country, which in turn informed our decision as to what we wanted in a boat to live aboard and cruise full time.