I think, for a try out boat, make it big enough for you to live aboard, at least for long weekends. Go for plastic, and have a decent run under engine
, if that doesn't work well it will seriously affect your new hobby. You should get a sea worthy boat for a thousand or two. It won't be pretty or clean or tidy but that's your new hobby. Sailing it, learning
to sail? will soon follow - every weekend! All weekend! And you'll soon learn what boats look good, sail well, have happy people, and doesn't cost more than a third of your settlement. You'll know enough by then not to make too big a mistake. Stay away from wooden, they need skilled and persistent work just to stop them deteriorating!