May I suggest that you look at the old Morgans, 28, 30 and 34''s. The 30 and 34 are very similar boats, the 28 is way different in appearance. All the old Charlie Morgan boats sail very well.
Do not cofuse these models with the Out Island versions. The Out Island''s were good boats with acres of room, but for the most part they are NOT Charlie Morgan designs.
I have a 34 and it performs extremely well in anything above 1 and I''ve only had it out in 25-30. I consider my boat to be pretty stable. I have sailed two races with it so far and took line
honors in the first race (second on corrected time) and won the second race. You should be able to find a particularly well kept model in your budget with change left over for updates.
For wiw, when I take my wife out, if the wind is up to anything over about 10 I tie in a reef. I bring her along for company not to impress her. Out of the 250 families at our club there are about four wives that go out sailing regularly. I''m not sure why that is but I''m not willing to do anything that will scare my wife away.
Best of luck to you