Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
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I think the IP 27 is probably a good choice, given your requirements. For its length, it has a very big interior. It draws very little water, but it comes at the cost of speed and pointing ability. I have always liked the quality of IP. I think they are overpriced, especially while new, but they are better built boats than most of the others on your list.
I do not like the seawards. Too much plastic. The interiors are very small for their size, but that is because they were designed to be trailorable. I also have concerns about the keel.
While the Telstar is a nice boat, it you are looking for something with a lot of volume for the Mrs, this is not the boat for you. Trimarans have very small interiors compared to monos of similar length.
I like the catalina the best. I think it is the best compromise between performance, cruising ability, size, quality... The only issue is it will not work if you really require a 3' draft.
I don't know what your price range is, but you should look at the Beneteau 311 centerboard. I am not usually a centerboard fan, but given your need for 3' draft, I think it is the way to go. It has a great interior that will please the Mrs, and should perform better than the IP. There are some on the market which are about 10 years old and in good condition.