Welcome to the wonderful world of sailing. You sound a lot like me when I was a also teenager. I bought my first boat when I was 14 or so with money that I had saved up working odd jobs. It was only a 10 foot open boat but I learned a lot from puttering around with her. As a 15 year old I lived aboard my family''s boat for the summer by myself and worked in a boatyard, rowing or sailing to work each day. That was a great experience. While I was the ''dock boy'' on the weekends, pumping gasoline and cleaning up people''s boats before they went out or after they came in, during the week I worked with the yard crew, painting bottoms, varnishing, doing rigging
, boat carpentry, and fiberglass work which taught me a lot of skills that have proved useful over the years. The boat yard job was only four days a week, so I also landed a job with a boat rental. In those days people who knew nothing of sailing might rent a boat and when that happened they would put a kid on board to teach them to sail and to keep them out of trouble. I really got a kick out of that job. I could not believe that someone was actually paying me to go sailing. I also had a fun job during that same summer working for a very wealthy man who owned classic sailboats. His house was right on Long Island Sound and he had seach lights
mounted on the roof. When he threw parties, he would pay people to sail these classic sailboats around in front of his docks while kids aimed the spotlights on the boats. I typically single-handed his Luders 16 (24 feet length) during those evenings. On the whole those summers were a great lesson in self-reliance.
As a teenager I had planned to buy a small cruising boat as soon as I could afford one. I bought my first cruising boat when I graduated from college. She was an old wreck of a 25 foot wooden Folkboat which I put back together in a massive restoration project. Although Folkboats and their derivatives such as the Contessa 26 which uses a Folkboat hull, do not have ''CE Open Ocean'' ratings they have sailed all over the place including some well documented circumnavigations. I lived on mine briefly and sailed in South Florida area.
Silmarils is asking the right questions and as Silmaril noted, those of us on the left side of the Atlantic are not likely to know the Newbridge Venturer 22 as they appear to be an English design. Looking at the picture they appear to be a very nice bilge keeler. Bill Dixon is a very competitent designer. They look like they are nicely set up for coastal cruising with an amazingly complete interior for a boat this size and weight. They are not exactly inexpensive.
Boats this size are hard to size up without more information than was available in my quick internet search. These are not especially heavy boats, which is good for sailing ability but bad for being able to carry the kinds of loads that a liveaboard/ cruiser really needs to carry food, clothes, and supplies.
Bilge keel boats like the Newbridge generally require more ballast for an equal stability, so when you look at a moderately low displacement boat like the Venturer, you would expect that the boat is either a little light on ballast or light on carrying capacity or both. Of course light ballast weight generally translates to poor stability, and bilge keels generally have a lot more drag than a similar fin keel boat.
Stability and drag are important at the low and high end of the wind ranges. The size of a boat''s sail area is generally limited by its stability so a boat that is a little light on stability generally has a smaller sail plan. This hurts in light air, as does extra drag, when the winds are a little light to drive the boat well. At the heavier wind range end of things, increased drag means that more sail area needs to be carried to get through wind and waves than a lower drag boat. As a result a high drag boat needs a lot more stability than a low drag boat and so bilge keelers are generally heavier because of greater ballast and drag, which does not appear to be the case with the Venturer, which is the long way of saying that the displacement of the boat leaves a question in my mind about the boat''s offshore capablities.
In a more general sense, traditionally, the recommended displacement for a long range cruiser or liveaboard was 2 1/2 to 5 long tons of displacement per person. Normally, for a single-hander, that results in a boat that is roughly 25 to 38 feet in length if the boat is going to be sturdy enogh and be able to sail well in a range of winds.
I think of Folkboats as being about the smallest liveaboard offshore cruisers out there. Both Marieholm and Contessa (amoungst a whole raft of others including Cheoy Lee and Whitby Boat works) build fiberglass versions of the Folkboat, older examples of which are roughly in the same price range as the Newbridge.