Join Date: Mar 2006
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A couple more points for you to ponder since you mentioned "Offshore" crusing. The midsized Catalina's, Hunters and Beneteaus are all built for coastal cruising. Many folks would not even consider taking one of those boats as far as Bermuda, then south, though I'm sure many have done it and a very stock looking C36 was in the Transpac last year. So with careful planning, the boat could certainly do it, if the crew was up to it.
Anyway, you need to consider your defintion of "Offshore". If it means more or parallel to a coast, where running for shelter is an option if the weather doesn't pan out as forecast, then these boats will be fine and perhaps preferable to a boat more suited to an ocean crossing.
Nearly all the things you appreciate in a boat like a C350, big cockpit, open space bleow, atwartship aft bunk, etc are not advantages when you can't stop and anchor at night. Conversely, the cramped quarters in a bluewater boat become reassuring when performing tasks below deck while the boat beats to weather in a blow. The two objectives are pretty much polar opposites and the closer your choice of boat to the kind of sailing you do, the happier you are likely to be.
I assumed that Labatt's statement about finding a higher quality boat in the same price range as a new 350 was accurate but I did a check of YW for the Chesapeake and really didn't turn up as many as I expected. The names that showed up with at least one example newer than 1990 were Island Packet, Caliber, and Tartan. There was also one Cabo Rico and one Pacfic Seacraft Crealock. So unless you want to go older than 1990 the pickings are pretty slim for higher end boats.
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36