Crusing -Catalina or Newport
I can''t give you much feedback on those specific boats, but can give you some other info.
www.yachtworld.com often is a helpful place to look to get a sense of what you can get for the buck. Those are pretty much all broker boats, if you can find a direct/owener sale you may get a little more mileage for your dollar.
Also - if you can SPEND 20K that is not the same as buying a boat that costs 20K. There is always a certain amount you need to put in your budget for repairs, upgrades, fixes, and various odds, ends and gewgaws that you don''t realize you want or need now. Depending your your preferences, you should plan on a percent (maybe 10-15) of what you spend on your boat on top of the purchase price to bring it to where you want to be. Think bottom painting, commissioning, safety equipment, etc.
Be forewarned also that there are those that will heap abuse on you for even suggesting that you buy a "Benehuntalina". I feel you may ignore them; to me it screams that these guys are not looking at the boats themselves, but deciding that the brand simply merits derision because it is a mass produced product. As a Beneteau owner I feel that the boat choice is up to the buyer, and ''80 Catalina 30 may be a better choice for you than a ''72 Pearson or Tartan.
One thing with older boats - be careful on upkeep and maintenance needed. My first boat was a 1966 Tartan 27, cost me $3K. She was sound, solid and sailed well, but needed a lot of clean up & painting. Getting into it, I had NO idea how much TLC she needed. It was a shame, but I simply did not have time to give her the care needed, and she started deteriorating faster than I could keep her up. Lovely sailing boat though, but I could never keep up enough to bring her condition to where it should be.
So - moral of that story, you can get into a decent boat for what you want to pay, but watch condition and quality carefully. The probablility of a higher quality boat surviving into it''s 30''s in good shape is better, but you have to look on a case by case basis.