well then is anyone here local?
You can go to Lake Ponch.
Galveston Bay is a great place to take a course. Kemah Boardwalk has a sailing school. They are good people as well.
As far as sailing in the Gulf...if the boat is designed for blue water sailing, you will be fine.
Another thing that you could look at doing: Try going to The Moorings website and getting a charter in the BVIs. You can get 4-8 people together, rent a boat 37-55 ft depending on the number going. You will need to get a charter captain as well. We went in November and I think it was around $2300 per person for 7 days (airfare, food, booze). We get a discount though due to going every year, your rate might be higher.
This post was edited on 12/10 at 10:02 pm