Thoughts on new boats
First off, I admire your pluck for bringing up this topic with this group. I''ll tell you what I know about a couple of the boats you''ve mentioned.
Compac 35 -- I saw your recent post and was too lazy to respond. I probably was in the throes of the wide stern thing at the time. I checked one of these out a few months ago with a friend who is also interested in them. Yes, very traditional compared to the competition. A Charley Morgan design, and he knows how to design a shoal draft cruiser. The fit and finish seems pretty good, and the boat comes with a ton of standard stuff. My friend has talked with one current owner, and that fellow likes the boat a lot. I think it''s worth considering.
Dufours -- I spent a lot of time at the Annapolis show kicking around on these boats, and also at the Annapolis dealer''s open house back in March. They have a lot of appeal. A definite step up in quality over the Big Three. My only quibble is ventilation in the forward cabin. The Dufours don''t have the usual surfeit of ports and hatches you find on most other boats in this price range. Practical Sailor just did a favorable review of the Classic 36, and that''s a plus. Only complaint I''av read from an owner was a fellow in Australia who seemed to have more problems with the dealer than with the boat. Dufour finally flew someone from France to Australia to take care of him, and I found that to be amazing.
Bavaria -- I''ve been very enamored with them in the past, but I seem to be over that now for some reason. Lots of boat for the money of course, and I have yet to chat with an owner who dislikes his Bavaria. Others on here have made negative comments about them but when asked for specifics, they haven''t come up with any. Bavaria is coming after the US market and one rumour I heard is that they have cut the quality of their boats to keep prices so low. I have seen nothing to back that up that claim, however.
One other boat to consider is Etap. made in Belgium, unsinkable. But now that I think of it, the traveler may be in the cockpit on those. Still nice boats to check out if you have time.
I suggest lurking on the Sailnet email lists for the boats that interest you to get a feel for problems, and good points, too.
Last suggestion: find the boat that speaks to you, the one that calls out "I''m the one, Jon!" One will, and that''s the one to go with. Take most of the advice you''ll get from this list (including this one) with two aspirin, find that one boat, and go sailing.