I would hate to spend $25000 on an Archer with out trying it. I'm keep my eyes out for any way to get my hands on one, or at least a flyer.
Here are a few things I found beneficial from the workshop.
1. I was able to use several different types of rigs (all Steadicam brand. Everything from the flyer to the Ultra2) and not just for 5 min once. I had 6 days to use them. That helps me realize the differences in them.
2. I feel like it jump-started my skill by at least 2 years of trial and error. I too had not just a manual, but a 2 hour VHS tape with my rig. The 6 days I spent at the workshop taught me FAR more then the manual and tape did. Having the instructors looking at your technique and form is great. Seeing how others operate is good too. Being immersed in the craft is effective.
3. If you have a rig, and have been operating some, a workshop will let you see what the Steadicam "logo" has to offer in comparison to what you have. I have a Steadicam but I still know what I want to improve on it. Largely because of workshops, and using the new rigs.
If you are planning on $25k + on a rig, the price of a workshop is well worth it.
Hope that helps some.
The Sachtler is decent. If I was given one I wouldn't complain.. much.
But I would try and sell it for a clipper2. =)