J24 Good first boat???
I guess it would be best to look at a few different boats and see what the cockpits are like. I would guess that the J for less than 5k is going to have some problems and need some work. 5k is a small budget but it can be done. Look at some common boats__Catalina 22 for example. Go to www.boats.com and do a search on sailboats in the 19 to 25 foot range and see what you come up with. I used to sail on Long Island Sound in a Flying Scot (19''). You can certainly get one for less than 5k, but there is no cabin. Take your time looking and don''t just buy the first boat.