The max skill rank depends on the amount of characters you've obtained. I think for every ten characters, you get a new rank.
The amount of skills you can equip depends on your character level, every ten levels = a new slot.
Acquiring Tsunouma (Kangacorn):
1. When you first reach Merseto
3. Lino comes with one.
Acquiring Iwadori (Great Owl):
1 & 2. Paula and Jewel ride on them as they join you at the Border Village
DrkHckr is correct, skill level progression carries over to new game+ but the party skill points do not carry over
My GameFAQs account now is SheenavsKilley
I already closed gildedtalon, my old account