Re: Good starting boat with some speed, but forgiving while learning as well?
SF Bay ?
Find a Lido 14 on Craigslist. You will have a lot of fun, in the heavy air of SF Bay you'll plane easily enough to get your jollies, but you'll also stay a lot drier than with other small Boats.
Larry Ellison learned to sail on Lido 14s in SF Bay.