I would focus on centerboard boats for the Albermarle and Pamlico sounds. Any brand is suitable for what you want to do but of the ones you are looking at, the Tartan probably has the best build quality.
I would also agree that the C&C's in your range would be worth a look. Other options include some of the Charlie Morgan boats (not the out islands!) and perhaps the Britols and Sabres in your price range.
Ultimately...condition will vary greatly in boats of this age and keeping your options open and visiting lots of boat will lead you to the best one for your $$.
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