I taught sailing for about 20+ years and the idea of racing being counter productive to learning to sail has some merit. I think it works for juniors that have racing events available a couple of times a month in the season. After basic sailing the move to non-single handed boats mixing kids with different experience levels helps. With older kids and adults learning for the first time racing is not the best way to teach/practice in my opinion. A buoy or mark can help for practicing maneuvers or to have a goal to reach. If the students were older standing where I could impede the tiller if they were turning the wrong way allowed me to provide feedback without telling them what to do constantly. It is very hard to take a novice sailor and ask them to learn to sail and learn to think about a race course at the same time. It's those cement beaches you got there that make the cop so bad.