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· Freedom isn't free
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This is a pretty old thread, but if it's good enough for bob....
I'd add that as a starter boat, it's a good sailing boat. Now these boats can be had all day long for under $5k... finding one that is dry is tough. A good friend of mine just sold his to get rid of it for $3000, and it was a lot of boat (in great shape with a lot of sails) for $3500 (boat, motor and trailer, with like 10 sails).

That being said, the J/24 has some caveats for a new sailor, that mostly apply to someone wanting to trailer it. It's a keel stepped mast (making it difficult but not impossible for 2 or 3 people to step the mast)... It's a deep fin keel, so trailer launching is "exciting" if you've never strap launched a keel boat. Once you get over those 2 hurdles though, it's a spritely boat, that sails well in light air. I think it holds up nicely as the winds come up, but you need more crew on to keep her flat. If the above caveats are an issue, the J/22 is a slightly newer platform with a deck stepped mast.
 

· Freedom isn't free
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Perhaps, I've figured out why sailing has become a less popular sport these days. I've sailed a Catalina 22... and it's like sailing a brick. It's OK a couple boats I've sailed (and owned) were bricks too... its fine if you'd rather a wine and cheese cruise.

We might be able to keep more people sailing if what they first sailed was a little more "spirited." Perhaps that's how you get the younger water-skier types to stick with sailing anyway... But this is why when I see these first boat threads (and again this is a VERY old thread, but you know someone will search it) and the Catalina 22 comes up, I champion, no BEG, that the newbie consider a Capri 22... it's nearly as popular a boat as the Cat 22, just as easy to find parts for, sails better, and is still made! But if someone got a deal on a J/24? It's not a bad way to start. I'd say start with the main only though.

Broach? Not sure how many newbie sailors are going to try a spinnaker honestly, but OK... lets assume since the boat has one, a newb goes OK, lets try the colorful sail! By the time they get around to "Trying" I would think they'd know enough about the boat to not try it in 20 knots breeze. Anything under say 10 knots, and even newb will have time to figure out what to do...
 

· Freedom isn't free
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Colgate 26, is a great starter boat, and is used by many ASA schools to teach.

I'm thinking someone would need to work hard to broach a J24 in under 20 knots wind without a spinnaker. Perhaps we define broach differently. To me a broach includes water in the cockpit, water in the sails (well past 45 degrees, more like 70). I've never broached without a spinnaker involved. I suppose I did a lot in my Centerboard boat. My own boat won't heel past 35 degrees without a hard roundup, so a broach isn't a white sails event without massive waves. The J/24 can't be much different. There is an exception of course, which is if the lazarette hatches flop open and fill with water (yep my Capri 25 was designed the same way, so I set about to fix that).

By the way the Colgate 26, is also a pretty racer centric boat as well.
 
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