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I would not get a J24 as a first boat, unless your goal is to get into racing right away.
You may want to get something with a more comfortable cockpit. Also, get a boat that you can sell easily when you are ready for the next one.
How much do you want to spend, and what kind of sailing are you going to do other than occasional overnighting?
Rob ~~~~_/)~~~~
 

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I guess it would be best to look at a few different boats and see what the cockpits are like. I would guess that the J for less than 5k is going to have some problems and need some work. 5k is a small budget but it can be done. Look at some common boats__Catalina 22 for example. Go to www.boats.com and do a search on sailboats in the 19 to 25 foot range and see what you come up with. I used to sail on Long Island Sound in a Flying Scot (19''). You can certainly get one for less than 5k, but there is no cabin. Take your time looking and don''t just buy the first boat.
Rob
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