I disagree about it not being a good beginner boat.
My first boat was a Venture 21 and I can't think of any reason that I would not choose the same boat again as a beginner boat. This is just my opinion and I'm no expert by any means. I had sailed some before I owned the Venture, but I think it is a fantastic little boat for learning
It can be a little tender
in a stiff breeze, but I don't think that is a bad thing for learning really. The Venture 21 can actually be a pretty fast boat, but you also don't have to push it. The swing keel
was great for me when I was learning.. I [ahem...] grounded a few times with the keel
down and hit rocks once with the keel down. No damage or problems either time. When I grounded, I just cranked the keel back up, swung the tiller over and was off on a different tack. When I hit the rocks, I was moving pretty fast and I think it may have damaged a fixed keel boat in the same situation. As it was with the swing keel, it hit the rocks and just bounced over them with no damage and a good lesson learned.
If I found a Venture 21 in good shape with a trailer and a decent running outboard
for $1,000 or less even today I myself would still consider getting it. The 9hp will be way plenty of hp for that boat.
Bottom line on my feelings on the Venture 21 is that it would be hard to go wrong with one (if used for the intended purpose).
There are better boats out there and there are not so good boats out there. I just happen to like the venture.