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While I agree with sailingdog and others that experience with small boats may be a good idea first, there are bargains out there - you might have to look a bit harder though. As an example see below:
1968 Paceship Acadian Yawl Mark II Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
While the engine is gas it looks like it would be worth a look - bit far from San Francisco though. It's one example of a solid older boat that is actually well equipped and appears in pretty good shape.
Here's one in San Francisco:
1973 PT 30 Mk II Half Ton Sail Boat For Sale -
It has a diesel and looks well equipped
Here's a 30' Tartan (one of the earlier good ones) fairly well equipped in Marina Del Rey
1973 Tartan cruiser Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Here's a Cascade 29, a bit older with Atomic 4 gas engine but looks to be pretty solid.
1964 Cascade Sloop Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
While these examples may not be ideal, they show that there are bargains out there. Always get a survey before purchase. Look at as many boats as you can, walk the docks and talk to owners. You'll gather information about what to look for and what to look out for. Read as much as you can, either at the library or on the net, see sailingdog's boat inspection tips on this site, and for a look at the kinds of problems that older boats can have go to
The Plastic Classic Forum • Index page. It's a site of hands on sailors, most with boats in the size range you're looking at.
Brian
 

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In addition to the above free advice, making some changes and additions can be very rewarding experience. It also means that you'll know your boat better mechanically and structurally. You'll be better prepared to fix a problem if you know what's there because you put it there. There are many owner's groups on the net and even if there isn't for the boat you eventually purchase, there are similar boats with owners groups and advice a plenty.
Brian
 
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