The Ranger series of boats is generally well regarded. I just helped launch a Ranger 26 earlier this year. Quite a nice boat, but a bit small in my book. I think you'd do well with either the Ranger 22, 23 or 26. Used, they're all in that price range generally, unless in immaculate condition.
A couple of things to be wary of on them. Many Rangers are raced, and as such, can have seriously more wear and tear on them than boats that were not raced. A survey is generally an excellent, almost mandatory, step to take on any that you find interesting.
Another boat that might be of interest to you is the Santana 22, which was also designed by Gary Mull, designer of the Ranger sailboats.
One other thing, you should set aside about 20% of your boat buying budget for equipment re-fitting, upgrades, and modifications. Not to discourage you, but every boat I've ever owned needed to have something done to make it workable for me. It doesn't matter whether the boat is new or used....it just seems to be a fact of life when it comes to boats.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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