My personal opinion....
For my first boat, I wanted something inexpensive to learn in. Not just how to sail, but also taking care of the boat and the ability to spend weekends aboard, at the marina and on the hook. It had to be fully equipped with a galley, head, and sleeping quarters. Big enough to be comfortable, but not so big it would be difficult to handle. Besides, at this stage of the game I'm not sure what I really want/need in a boat anyway.
I decided on my Catalina 25....it was priced very well, highly regarded as an entry level boat, has everything I need and has a great owners culture. As I learn to sail, I'm also learning about boat maintenance, overnighting at the marina and on the hook, and most importantly, what I REALLY want/need in my next boat. With purchase price and upgrades/repairs I'm less than $5k into this boat....an amount I'll get most of back when I go to sell her in a couple years.....and upgrade to my next boat....one that will have/do what I really want and need in a sailing vessel.
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1982 Catalina 25 #2897
Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas