There is a trade off between the bulkier early planning gear and the convenience of relatively smaller lighter gear on and off the water both for boards and rigs. For myself, similar age to Ken, I prefer the smaller lighter gear and accept the fact that I am waiting about for wind 'waves' while others on larger gear are cruising about. Starboard Futura is a nice model that can be grown into and comes in a good range of sizes covering most of the bases. Sail sizing is a deciding factor depending upon your wind range and intended use. Have a look at the sail maker websites (eg Neil Pryde) where sail sizes and models are related to wind speed ranges and intended usage (eg cruising, blasting or racing where the sails are successively more heavily built).