I raced in an "A" boat from 90-94. I now own a 38 Donzi Comp and have no plans of racing. I love off-shore racing but the maintenance and upkeep can be staggering. You also have to look at insurance and lack there off when racing. That aside,
If I could afford to competitively race again, I would definitely run a canopy boat with harnesses and air. I broke a few ribs, and almost got tossed more than once in the old open boats.
Being new to racing as you are, I would recommend a V-bottom to get started. For single engine, the Bat boat could be good but I would look more at an Activator or Superboat. I had a 29' Kryptonite and would highly recommend that but I don't think they are making them right now and they never made a canopy boat.