I have never sailed (lets get that out of the way right now). I am 49 and recently remarried. My wife seems to be accepting of giving cruising a try. But first we need a smaller boat in which to get our feet wet. We live in West Virginia. Not exactly sailing capital of the world. We do have a few local lakes that are pretty nice. Firstly would have to be Cave Run, located in Eastern Kentucky. It's about 7,200 acres. Other nice lake is Summersville, located in Central West Virginia. My wife and I both work. So it's not as though either of us is able to take a weekend trip to the Chesapeake Bay. It's about 7 hours away from us. I'd eventually like to move up to a nice 32-35 footer to cruise in. But what would be a nice boat to learn the basics of sailing. I've always heard it's best to start off REAL small, like 15 feet. The reasoning for this is folks who start out so small have a better feel for how the wind makes the boat move, as opposed to a boat a few feet bigger. A sailing friend of mine said it'd be best to go anywhere from 18 feet to 22 feet. She said this would give us a better feel for what it's really like to be on a sailboat. We don't get much wind in WV, although with this severe cold and wind snapping through right now, it sure feels like it. I want my wife and I to enjoy the water. I'm not looking for a go fast boat. With the reading I've done, I think I prefer a sloop, unless someone can talk me out of it. I've heard the sloop is a good all purpose rig. I am going to want a keel boat when we start cruising. Would learning on a centerboard be detrimental to my ability to adapt to the keel? I guess that's all I can think of for now. I appreciate all responses. Thanks.