Re: Why a racer for cruising discussion...
Look at what George is currently sailing, and you may see, as I will swag why the C34 was brought into the comparison, ie it is what he has now! From THAT angle, certainly worth bringing up that boat model! Now truly comparing it to the other boats.....yes, I would agree, not in the same ball game. The other, being as they are all in thesame general size bracket if you will, it is worth comparing them.
I have also been saying many times over, Jeanneau's in general thru the years, are faster than catalina's. Last weekend, I literally out sailed 2 C420's and a C400. I was beating them boat for boat, much less on handicap! I'm rated a 204 non flying sails, IIRC they were in the 140-150 range NFS. My base local is 189 with flying sails, NEngland which you mentioned earlier IIRC I am a 169 or 172 or there abouts. possibly even a 159. PHRF DOES generally speaking, within regions change ratings. NE is able to do a lot of triangular courses, herein Puget Sound where I am, reaching is a good day, most of the time you are either going upwind, or down! nothing in the middle per say. My boat is 28' on deck no less. Local there is a C34 raced frequently, it is 174 IIRC with a typical local FS rating. I actually race at 195 fs, due to a smaller spin than normal.
She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!