Advice on a new 30-34ft boat
Study owner websites at www.sailboatowners.com and manufacturers. www.catalinayachts.com
I own a Catalina 270 so I may be prejudiced towards them. The boats I looked at to be online with what you seem to want are the Cats, 30'', 310 ( which started out to be the redisign of the popular 30 using new construction method, turned out so different they introduced as new boat) & 32. The Bene 311 might be something to look at if available, also you could look in Wash., not a bad cruise home. Jeneau (sp?)& Bavaria also, same price range, nicer finish than a Catalina .
I really like layout of Cat 310 (real mattress, in a real stateroom for Mom & Dad, not some cave of an aft compartment) & shower little more separate from head then most designs. Only made since 2001 I believe so the 30 is probably going to be more readily available used at better price. Used 310''s seem to be running $85 to $95,000 you can get a 30 to fit any budget.
There are some knowledgeable posters on these forums for whom the Catalina is not a particular favorite (and it is more popular on west coast I think than east coast, home field advantage). And I will admit that they are a "high value for your dollar" production boat. I feel most of the Bene''s may be built a little stouter and the cherry interior is beautiful, I like the way they handle.
Most Catalina owners love their boats, they handle well generally, most are not real good in light airs but pretty good to windward and track well.
I actually was looking at boats close to $100,000 when in my search I found my Catalina that had all the important features I wanted at 1/3 the price in a smaller boat. I decided that the smaller boat would suit my purposes for a few years and I wouldn''t feel so "tied" to it. I don''t feel guilty if it sits for a week while I go trout fishing, High Sierra season starts next week.
There are a lot of Very well made boats other than these depending on budget, if you can find good used one might be better than some boats new.
Island Packet, Pacific Seacraft, Cabo Rico, also boats.com has extensive reviews also I believe, best advice is probably to charter or crew on a bunch of different boats to decide for yourself whats important to you and how the boats sail and live.