I do think, though, that as a beginner sailor you'd be better off with a boat more fun to sail and more responsive so that you'll learn more quickly what works and what doesn't. The Cat 36 you linked to earlier would, IMO, be a better starting point.
Yeah that Catalina is nice, there are a few of them around Seattle too. I'll definitely make a trip down there to see some boats (there are probably 8 on my list to see), but for now I'm having a look at boats closer to home.
What do you think of this Columbia 41? I'm going to try to look at her tomorrow:
Vela Yacht Sales (Victoria, BC)