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!
".. 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)
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"