Re: your two specific points. I think you are right that there is not a rub-rail on the Moodys. At least not on the one I saw in person (unless I merely forgot to mention it in my notes). Looking online, there does not appear to be one on any of the boats I flagged on yacht world.
Re: the sugar scoop. The Moody 425 I saw did have a sugar scoop, but I don't think they all do. The others I have seen are can be mounted boarded the back, but with use of a ladder, not with built-in steps. (Forgive me for not knowing the exact terms - I hope that makes sense.)
Your top list of boats for our purpose is very interesting. Right now, our working list (which I admit fully is the product of very incomplete research, and even less hands-on experience) is:
Tayana 37 (*if* we could find one of the rare examples in which the quarter berth is enclosed, and only with fiberglass decks)
Tayana 42 (cc only, fiberglass decks)
I have been lurking on Sailnet for some time. So I will leave you to imagine where we might have gotten the idea to put Catalina 42 and 40 on our list.
I like the idea of looking further into the Sabres, but I think the 42's run a little too expensive for us. (Unless we wait an additional year, which we might if there's a good reason, I think our budget will max out in the 120,000 to 130,000 range.) Would you recommend the 38' also, or the 42' specifically?
I really want to put the Passport on our list. But I think teak decks are a deal breaker for us.
I am not sure about the Benetaus. I know this is shallow, but I think the Catalinas are better looking and I haven't noticed any features on the Benes that make me prefer them over Catalina. And there are so many 42' Catalinas on the market at any given time, that I don't think we'll have a shortage of opportunities if we decide to search out a production boat.