Just purchased a Macgregor 25 venture and am a rookie so not real sure of its capabilities. Plan on only sailing lakes and rivers due to living in Ohio the oceans are pretty far away, planning a trip from Marrietta oh. to Nashville in spring.
A note about the Macgregor...it's very very tippy. Surprisingly so if you don't have the ballasts full. Never put the sail up with the ballasts empty. If you're going to take lessons I'd take them on a Macgregor or at least from someone that is familiar with a Macgregor. They are very different.
Also, be sure when you go out to know where the shallow spots are. We use the Navionics app on our phone and tablet/iPad so we don't run aground. The Macgregor is more versatile in that if you run aground you can take up the centerboard, empty the ballast and try to motor off but you still need to be aware of the shallow spots.