There are lots and lots of boats that might work for you. As mentioned, the typical Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau would be fine. For your budget you will be looking at older boats, nothing wrong with that. Some other brands that you should consider are O'day, Newport, S2, Ericson, Cal, Pearson, etc.
With three people you don't really need anything bigger than 30' but the bigger boats do have a lot more room and storage space. You didn't write how long a typical trip would be, but if it's longer than a week, the bigger boat will be a lot more comfortable. My first 'big' boat was a Newport 28. It was great for a night stay for my family of five, but too small for longer than two nights - there was just no room once everyone was in the cabin. My O'day 35' has plenty of space for a week or longer. If you do plan on spending a week or longer on board, some of the creature comforts like pressure hot and cold water, a decent sized head, a shower, good galley, and comfortable bunks become important.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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Last edited by BarryL; 07-12-2008 at 09:33 PM.