Cheoy Lee ballast/displacement ratio
Gary, a friend has just left on an open-ended cruise in his Seafarer 34 and the pics he sent me were wonderful...but the catch is that he spent +/- 9 long years rebuilding it in his front yard. This sometimes happens when you start out wanting something ''right'' and, as you peel the onion, you discover one necessary ''fix'' after the next. He ended up with what looks to me to be a very affordable (labor excluded, of course), functional boat, but at a huge personal price. He was not a Seafarer fan, as you would suspect.
Jeff and I have disagreed before about the Tartan 34 - in many respects, it''s a boat that''s easy to like. Beautiful at anchor, a nice sailing boat, variable draft, and ohhhh wouldn''t it be great if every engine offered that much access. I personally think the rig is inadequately stayed for lengthy cruising (only a single in-line lower) but perhaps your cruising plans are somewhat limited re: big water. But before you fall in love, I''d encourage you to assemble everyone who''ll be sailing with you in that cockpit and all stay put for half an hour...and then see how you feel about that single most used space (on a cruising boat, especially). Boats are compromises, as you surely know, but there are a few things that in my mind are absolutes (one of which is a functional, comfy cockpit) and trying to get comfortable, and move about just a very little bit, for a short time on a friend''s Tartan 34 was, at least for Patricia and I, a real eye opener. But the point is: see what you think. Perhaps your needs and expectations are different than ours.
You are looking for a cruising boat, as I recall, so I''d encourage you to compare overall capacity, draft requirements, storage, cockpit comfort, nav table and overall ''finish'' between the Pearson 323 and 33. I think one is much more suitable for cruising needs than the other, but see what you think. (BTW in many boats, the second most used place on a cruising boat these days seems to be the nav station/chart table...assuming it has a comfy seat and the ergonomics work for your body. So I''d encourage you to put a little ''extra'' emphasis on that piece of the puzzle).