Thanks for hitting the thanks button!
I also love the J24 for bay racing. It is technical enough and fast enough to get a rush without being too wet. It has survived a long time as a one design for its utilitarian design.
As for safety that is not really a big concern for me. However, the J24 can be overpowered quickly and there have been boats lost
in round up events
usually when gybing under spin in racing conditions with the hatch
open. We have sailed through pretty good asian thunderstorms with 30-40kt gusts and will usually drop the genny and sail under main only at those times. It is difficult to shorten sail no the J24 especially single
handed. We never have had cause to hang the jib
as the conditions here aren't strong enough for long enough to warrant the sail change. I have never been "scared" by anything we've done with the J24.
Our club does twilight racing and my boat (maxi 77) is a heavy (for its length) swedish boat. We win on handicap in teh right breezy conditions and have a great time with it. We get killed by the J24s the Beneteaus and the other racing boats. We kill the hunters - Yay! - although we usually end up finishing a race in 2 hours that the front runners do in 1 1/2 or less. That's not always fun. In light airs it can be frustrating.
We do weekend trips and a lot of day cruising and for that our boat is great.
If I were looking for an occasional racer
that I could single hand that would predominantly be used for weekends, club races and vacation
I would be looking at around 30 foot, furling
genny, well laid out, comfortable with a little zing.
Older Benneteau Firsts and Jeneau would be my personal focus.