ASA and PSIA Instructor
Join Date: Apr 2000
Thanked 25 Times in 25 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Gods of the Sea
Don't put too much faith in what owners say about their boats, without considering the knowledge and experience of the owners. Someone new to sailing with their first boat, will have an opinion about their boat, but without denigrating the in-experienced owner, you need to understand that the opinions may not be too well-found. In fact there tends to be relationsships between the type of boats people buy and their level of boating experience.
For example I would posit that most Hunter buyers tend to be relatively new to boating, whereas most Sabre buyers have 10-25 years of boating expereince. Given this observation, a Sabre owner's opinion about their boat, or boats in general, would be much more relevant than a Hunter owner's. The quality and character of boats that people own, says a lot about what they do or do not know about boats...
If this sounds elitist, then that's too bad, its just the way it is...
Good luck, skip the Columbias and Coranados, start with anything Pearson, see what you can find for Tartan, Cal, Ericson, Sabre, C&C.