I also went through the same search. My wife wanted to be comfortable and I wanted something that was not a dog to sail. Ended up with a C&C 29 MkII. Not the racing sled that some are but very competitive in PHRF club racing and very comfortable to cruise. Nice that you are moving in light air and most are disigned to be cruised with small crews or single handed. Mine has roller furling headsail, which makes racing not as competitive but is great when I am cruising single handed or with the wife reading her book or knitting. I like the Laser 28, talked to Jeff when he was selling it but the interior of the C&C is not so spartan (or open) and the wife really liked the warmth of the wood and the layout. Once again it is the compromise. When we walked on our boat, after looking at prob 100 boats, the wife immediately said yes, this one I could stay on.
The other nice thing is, especially in the Great Lakes, there is usually several for sale and they retain their value because they are very popular and there is always a market here for them.
I don''t know about some of the others mentioned although I did look at many of them in my travels. I know I am not as impartial as Jeff either but thought I would put in my 2 cents.