It's all about how comfy you want to be. More correctly, it's about how comfy your girfriend feels after a week on the boat. Cal's are great boats. I started on a 25. Everyone has a different opinion based on the way they sail. My current plans, budget, and location sound a lot like yours. We opted for a Catalina 30. When I'm done with some repairs and updates, we will have a big, solid, comfy boat for about what you are going to have in that Cal by the time you're done. I think the best advice is don't let yourself decide on what boat to buy based only on price. The economy s^%$s. There are a lot of good deals out there. Good luck
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