Join Date: Jun 2006
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If you want to dink around the coast, go for the Hunter. I wouldn't, because there are better coastal boats for quality and seaworthiness in my mind. But if it's a matter of getting off the dock and learning to sail, it's adequate.
If you want a boat you can grow into, however, pick the Southern Cross. It won't go as fast as the Hunter in club racing, but after club racing gets boring, you could transit the Atlantic in it. A light-air champ it isn't, admittedly, but if you ever ride in a Hunter in a squall and ride in an SC, you'll appreciate the difference.
I suspect that if you get the Hunter as a first boat, you'll go to a Catalina and then to a Beneteau. If you got the SC, you might go to a Pacific Seacraft and then, if you got rich, to a nice big J/Boat. It's a sort of philosophy of sailing idea, I guess.
The last thing is that a beat-up SC is probably worth fixing up, because it will always find a buyer (unless survey says it's truly, deeply compromised as opposed to merely neglected/dirty/crusty), whereas a Hunter 27 is a "throwaway" to anyone beyond the weekend inshore daysailer...and it's a little small for even that these days.