Thoughts on a mid size cruising boat
Many boats that are Racer / Cruisers are basically boats that are not specifically for a race course. It''s just a way to sell the boat to someone that might want to do one or both. Lots of crusing people like to club race. In general true race boats have nothing below decks but the minimum. You want a lot more below<g>.
A quick search on Yachtworld.com (go there do a search) showed a few 34 Sabre''s in your price range in Maryland. These are mid 1980''s boats and I think a good value for the price. The actual price you pay is of course negotiated and will vary a lot depending on te goodies that come with the sale and the survey you do.
Don''t overlook the nice extras. Things like a full canvas enclosure cost a whole lot brand new but are very nice on a cruising boat. With A/C on board you can be plugged in at a marina in July and August and thus have a summer place for the weekend. All the "goodies" make the deal better.
Think of how you can spend more time on your boat. Boats are expensive to own no matter what they are and you need to get full use!
You can get what you are asking for in your price range.
Lots of folks do like to bad mouth Hunter, Catalina, and Beneteau as being of lessor quality than others. I see no point to it myself since there are a great many types of sailors out there and these companies sell more boats than most all the rest combined. They do know what people want in a NEW boat. You can''t afford a really great 34 ft boat brand new on your budget.
About all I would say is buy a used boat. You''ll get far far more for your money and I know there are a lot out there. Just be sure to pay up front for a professional surveyor and have the boat checked properly. In the 32 - 34 ft range you won''t be able to afford a brand new one fully equipped, but in a used boat from the mid 1980''s you should find something pretty nice with lots of extras already on the boat.