I believe that the J-34 comes with volvo power and has a masthead rig. There were only about 35 J-35C's make, and the standard keel is 6.5', which is not so great for the gulf. Also, the cockpit looks real uncomfortable.
I think a Tartan 37 or 34 would be a good choice. Shoal draft, fractional rig, excellent build quality and reputation.
If you want a much newer boat, look at Hunter. You can get a 37.5, which has an excellent reputation. That would be from the mid 90's.
You should also think about what features you want in a boat. For example, do you want a swim platform, and walk through transom? Do you want propane in the galley for cooking? Do you want a centerboard for better windward performance?
Lastly, IMHO you should think long and hard about your requirement for a fractional rig. I read Jeff's post and I respect his opinion. However, I really don't think that a large headsail on a medium sized (35') boat is that difficult to deal with. With modern self tailing winches and roller furling gear, it just isn't that hard to tack a genoa. I have a 140 genoa on my O'day 35, and two speed winches and it is not hard to tack the boat or trim the headsail when going upwind. Everything is a trade off, and boats with small headsails typically have larger mains. So that makes the main more difficult to raise and to lower (and to trim going upwind). You don't get something for free.
If you are willing to consider a mast head rig there are some great boats like Sabre (34 and 36) and CS. And don't discount the Catalina, Beneteau, Jeanneau, etc. if you plan on spending time along the coast. That is what those boats were designed for.
Day To Remember, 1986 O'day 35 For Sale
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110 For Sail
Mt. Sinai, NY
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