Re: Sailboat under $5000 for Puget Sound
You should read the Practical Sailor review for the Ranger 23. It tells you the common weak points and gives you a lot of history and design intentions for this boat.
In comparing the US 25 and Ranger 23 (just the details, not these particular boats), this is what jumps out at me:
* US 25 is full-on IOR, Ranger 23 isn't. Win: Ranger
* Interior space: US 25 is 18" longer and 1" wider. This gives it just enough room for an enclosed head. Win: US 25
* Likely comfort: Ranger 23 B/D is 44%, it carries a lot of weight in it's keel. The US 25 is 33%. That'll make the Ranger feel stiffer and easier to single hand (when you don't have a crew to sit on the weather rail). Win for your purposes: Ranger
* SA/D is pretty much a tie.
* Sail plan is more balanced on the Ranger (this goes back to the IOR aspect of the US 25). The smaller jib will be easier to handle and when the wind picks up you can reef the main first. Win: Ranger
* Construction quality: read the PS review. The Ranger 23 was built with no limitations from the manufacturer on build quality from a higher end production builder. The US 25 was built by a budget motor boat company experimenting with sailboats. Win: Ranger
I think that the US 25 in Tacoma is a attractive price for a boat with recent work and worth looking at primarily for that reason. However I think it would be a mistake to see that boat without looking at the Ranger as well (and the Santana 27, though I don't see it on CL anymore). PT and Tacoma are only 1.5 hours apart.
1986 Pearson 28-2 "Elena"