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Join Date: Sep 2005
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If I was looking for a mid to upper 20s footer for daysailing I'd be looking for a bit more maneuverability and speed than the (admittedly pretty) Cape Dory line. Of your list I'd favour the E28...
Since you're planning to daysail with friends then I'd look for a larger cockpit to accommodate those friends - many of the "offshore" small boats won't have much cockpit, and others that boast berths for 5 or 6 won't either.
Daysailing minimizes the need for below deck amenities so you can look at some boats that are not intended to be overnighters.
Here's the result of a YW search for daysailers/weekenders 24-27 feet.:
1981 daysailer (Sail) Daysailer/Weekender Boats For Sale
Don't know what your budget is but boats like a Santana 525, or a J27 come to mind for your intended plans - both way on the other end of the spectrum from the Cape Dory.....
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)