Advice for first boat
It takes a crew of about 3 to sail a J-24 reasonably well. If you don''t have an experienced crew, then the J-24 doesn''t really perform much better than any other sailboat. If you can race it well, it''s fun.
A heavy boat with a full keel would not be my first choice for a starter. They are slow, not much fun, and difficult to maneuver. If you are making a long passage, they are usually safe but slow.
A Pearson or O''Day or Catalina or any of the many fin keeled coastal cruisers would be my recommendation. They are a compromise design, and are generally more fun and easier to sail and maneuver. You won''t have as much money invested in one, and when you decide on the type of boat that you want to buy for the long term, they will be easier to sell.