We'd like to find on-line information on boating for beginners. We are thinking of buying a boat and would like to cruise around the African coast. Can you help?
I'm not familiar with South Africa, but I believe that in places like Richards Bay, and Durban, there are established and active yacht clubs. My suggestion is to join a yacht club, volunteer as crew on the club races, and learn that way. Most avid racing skippers are happy to have new blood, and in my opinion it's a very good way to learn how to REALLY sail.
There are books, named, "sailing for beginners", "sailing for dummies", etc., but book knowledge is a poor substitute for actual hands-on experience.
It is my understanding that South Africa has licensing and competency requirements for its citizens to take their boats out of the harbor. I think you need to investigate it further. And if you post to the Cruiser Log
forums, you can find some countrymen who can steer you in the right direction. http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=2
A local yachting/cruising website for you is: