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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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You need to keep your intended use in perspective, too, though. For the typical coastal cruising that most of us do there are a lot of boats that will do the job more than adequately besides the three you're focused on. I'd suggest you not restrict yourself quite so much and keep an open mind.
As a generalization I don't think I'd lump Catalina and Hunter together either. Catalinas have a history and continuity that speaks volumes.. Hunter seems to turn out a "new" boat every half dozen years (or sooner) leaving buyers puzzling over which were the good and which were the bad.
If you start to look at Cals, then that opens a range of options such as Rangers, C&C, CS, Benes etc that may well perfectly fill the bill, and some these may well rival your top three in terms of quality.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)