I vote Laser. It's a little high-performance for a beginner, but you'll learn to love it, and will never sell it. And once you've gotten good on a Laser, you'll have a "feel" for sailing and weight placement that you just won't get on a bigger, heavier boat. So I agree with what "many" have told you on that point. Plus you can race the Laser just about anywhere if you get into racing. It will also keep you in good shape, since body-english and hiking out is a big part of sailing a lightweight board-type boat like this.
Alternative is a two-person boat, like a Flying Junior, an old used Blue Jay or Snipe, O'Day Day Sailor, in the 15-17-foot range. But then as Caleb said you've moved from car-top or slide-in a truck or station wagon and launch from the beach, to needing a trailer and a launch ramp.
Last edited by nolatom; 06-01-2011 at 11:26 AM.