buying boat for PHRF racing
I owned a Kirby 25 back in the 1980''s. I thought it was a wonderful boat. In club level racing, I always did well under PHRF with the boat typically placing in the top three in a fleet that varied between 12 to 20 boats. In CBYRA High Point races I did not fair as well. Obviously the racing was at a higher level. I was a good sailor by that time but really was learning a lot about skippering my own boat and so would often snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (you know the type of thing where you come around the last mark of the fall series in first place boat for boat as the slow boat in the fleet and then taking a small flier and ending up in 9th or something like that).
As much as I really loved the Kirby 25, I think they are very hard boats to sail to their rating. There is a huge difference in speed (often over 1/2 a knot) between being dialed in and moving at full speed and being out of trim and going slow. In heavy air upwind, for example, there was a guarenteed .2 knots moving one person aft into the cockpit.
The Capri 25''s seemed to have an easier time sailing to their rating. They were not as fast upwind or in surfing conditions as we were but definitely had more speed on us in most other conditions. They are not nearly as well built as the Kirby 25''s and so they needed remedial structural work at shroud and bulkead attachment points. Most of the Capri''s that were raced hard around here had those mod''s. If you are just getting into racing then the Capri 25 might be an easier boat to do well with, but the Kirby might teach you more about finessing speed out of a boat. The Kirby has recently had a resurgance in Annapolis with 6 or more being actively raced in recently years in PHRF and MORC.
BTW: Which Kirby 25 did you race on in Annapolis?