Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?
The new input on location and budget makes a big difference. There are lots of different dinghy fleets on SFO Bay. The "hot" boats mentioned so far, like the Viper or 49er will not be available in your price range unless you have to raise them from where they got run over by a ferry or a truck. Used 420's or Vanguards will possibly meet your pricing, but they will be quite used. You might also find a Thistle or 505 if a slightly more stable platform would suit your learning curve better. Look around, talk to the skppers and crews out there, and see which group fits best - boat/price/and people-wise with you.