Thank you Paul for your excellent summary. The local (very small) club sails Lightnings and I was on one after having my Siren for a year and thought, my, what an uncomfortable boat this is! Duck! Duck!
I have noticed that not one of these old sailors ever goes out except on regular race day. Curious, why one would not take advantage of a good wind day to go out just for fun. So, I could fit in with the locals if I bought the Lightning, but I have a hunch it would give me more work than sailing. Your reply expressed that in realistic terms.
I don't want to race. But I don't want to just float around in a tub either. So your impression of both of those boats was quite apt.
There is an excellent buy on a very nicely kept Lightning nearby but there is also a 16 foot boat that looks similar, but is made by a much lesser known company, and is advertised as easily singlehanded with a mast that is easy to step by one, as well. I posted a query about it but got no replies.
Maybe you would be willing to take a peek at their website and let me know if you think it is a good choice. C&L Boatworks
under products you'll see the 16' This one is a well used boat with only the mainsail, no jib or cover, for $1000, on a trailer, so I can get it home,though almost 3 hrs each way for me. I could order the jib and anything else needed for it. Or I could start looking for a cat. I seem to resist that in preference to a nice old fashioned boat. Thank you much!