OK I just can't help myself.....
Our first boat was a Columbia 26, it was a great learn to sail boat for us. Simply equipped and easy to sail. We have sailed it to Cortes Island from Saltspring. Had loads of fun....always felt safe and it really gave us alot of confidence as our handling skills improved. They have great deck space, cozy below, but not too tight. You should be able to find one within your budget and there are many on the west coast. After 3 years with that we now have a 31 foot boat and the jump has not felt at all intimidating.