Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.
Agree that the SJ 24, while a nice looking boat, does have some habits and the cockpit is quite confining..
In addition to BP's good suggestions, in this area a Haida 26 is readily available, they come in a variety of deck styles with varying headroom, Ranger 23/26 (California Rangers), the various Cals 23/25, the venerable Catalina 22 and 25 (fixed keel versions for around here unless moorage is a challenge).. there's a long list of readily available boats that would allow some relatively comfortable cruising without resorting to tents ashore.
Personally I'd probably avoid an Etchells as a 'first boat'... not self bailing, and too many strings to pull to start. Rewarding, though, when you get it right!
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)