Join Date: Jun 2006
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This is true. You can have light-air sailing or standing room sub 26 feet or so, but not in most cases both.
That said, the C&C 25 is a possibility. If you want to focus on the sailing side, the Viking 22 is very nice, but it's barely got sitting room. A Northern 500 and a San Juan 24 are also options, as are most of the 1/4-tonner fleet, which are race-oriented. At the opposite end are Thunderbirds...they are cheap, too, but sail-wise, are less than sprightly. You won't find cheap Bayfield 25s, but they are very nice, as are Contessa 26s, again, a heavy-weather champ.
Some boats in this range have "pop-tops" like a camper trailer, a structurally dubious way to get a few feet of standing headroom at dock or at anchor.
It depends on how reconciled you are with crouching or being able to keep moving in less than six knots of wind. Me, I would favour the sailing ability and wouldn't care much about going below for anything more than lying down or nature's call. I know that the Shark is the only boat in this range I would take out in both five knots and 25 knots with confidence, because I've seen Sharks blasting around the lake in pretty daunting conditions that sends the 27-footers back. Not a dry ride, but a safe one. Just avoid the ones with plywood decks.