Lightning as a Family Daysailer?
Look no further! The lightning is the quinessential family daysailer. You can do no wrong in getting one. The longevity of the Sparkman & Stephens design alone (it was penned in 1938!) and the number of boats built (over 15,000) should testify to its ability to please all levels of sailors.
One step down from the Lightning is it''s little sister, the Blue Jay. Basically a lightning in 3/4 scale. It may be a bit cramped for more than 3 at a time though.
Both are easy to sail, with the Lightning adding more sophisticated sail handling systems.
Either are my personal favirites in that class of boat.