Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?
Not sure where you live. If you want to race, find out what the popular classes are in your vicinity. You probably want to join a yacht / sailing club as most racing is under the auspices of a club. What are the club members racing? My club has a huge number of San Juan 21's. Most of the sailing school / junior members race Lasers.
I occasionally will crew for some friends. You might also start by crewing on a boat in which you are interested. If I want to go racing I just show up on Wednesday night with the suitable gear.
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As I sail, I praise God, and care not. (Luke Foxe)