I am in the same boat is you buying older or buying newer. I based on this statement you made
I am looking to mostly sail the east coast of Florida and the Bahamas a couple times a year. I might do some local club races from time to time also but nothing serious.
I guess you will be happier with the French made boat. It is a buyer market, get what you want and leave the emotion at home. If not, just walk.
I read, think, and act independently; I don't come here to win a popular contest, nor I am here for free sex. I come here to learn, be challenged and be inspired in the art of safe off-shore passage. I am NOT afraid of dying in the sea, but I am afraid of dying in a nursing home and burdening those who I love.
I am old school; doing the right even when no one is watching is important to me.