Buying a 1st boat
I first started with lessons, then bought a small Beneteau...after two seasons I realized it was too small. Then a divorce which "liquidated" the boat. As retirement approached (then 5 years, now 3 out) I said I''m only here (on earth) once that I know of so I bought a classic Tartan for cruising. It was the best decision of my life. Like those above said, don''t wait too long.
Just as you learn a little, you learn there is a lot more to learn about boats and the sea. Once you commit to the lifestyle you become very hungry to learn.
LDCarpet...most galleys are near the companionway. Figure out just where you want to cruise and look at some classic plastic with relatively simple systems and a hull/rig design that meets those needs. Be patient and you''ll find a boat that''s right.