A New addition to the Bookstore
I started started sailing on a beach catamaran. I heartily recommend learning on a small boat, because they teach a sense of the wind and waves that is hard to gain on larger boats. But if you want to go farther or spend the night, you really need something with a bunk. But you don't need 50 feet of shiny fiberglass and the mortgage and slip fees that go with it. That's what they sell in the mags because that's where the (your) money is.
And to be honest, big boats aren't that much fun to sail, not after you get the hang of it. They're more about learning the systems and planning than actually sailing. Would you you rather go for a bike ride or drive a Winnebago around town? Personally, I'd take the bike, and that is why I downsized from a cruising cat to a 24-foot trimaran; the smaller boat sails better and I feel the wind again. I missed that on the cruising cat.
The thought that brought fire to my pen is that too many sailors feel that sporty boats are for racing. Poppycock. They are for whatever is fun, and if you only take the plunge, you'll see that fast cruising is a blast, though it can be a bit more like camping that staying in a hotel. Of course you can do both; sail fast from point A to point B, and then stay in a motel.
And that is the sort of thinking that goes into cruising fast and small. Ignore the magazines and make it work. You've never had so much fun!