I think a moderator will welcome you, but welcome from a socal guy. Been cruising for 45 years and still know little. Lots of boats to start with. You will grow and change your mind several times over your sailing career. In socal, lots of folks have started with a Catalina 30
, Islander and Ericson
made some great boats. Your price
will get you a great starter boat
. If you can, sail with friends and racers who will expose you to lots of good, and not so good, aspects of the activity.