As a novice would a Sonata be a sensible first boat ?
That depends on what sort of sailing you have in mind, where you sail and what your normal crew will be. I’m new to Sonatas this year and sail with my kids and sometimes other adults and I think my lifting keel Sonata is great – it has the space and layout of a much bigger boat. On the other hand, I’ve done a lot of sailing on different boats and and I wouldn’t say the Sonata is an easy boat – its taking me a while to get to grips with the rig and tuning the boat, and it is a bit fussy- it seems to need more sail changes than some boats I’ve sailed. Unless you want the racing I think there are other boats of similar size that are probably easier for a complete beginner, and they are usually somewhat cheaper – look at the back numbers of PBO reviews to see what is available – they mysteriously manage to omit the Sonata from most comparisons! A Sonata might make an ideal second boat!