Re: Coastal Cruising Boat Selection Help
While the backstay-less/hot tub cockpits of that series of Hunters are not near the top of my list, I think the concerns about following seas and open transoms are overstated. We've done plenty of miles in the Caribbean on an open transom boat and never had a wave catch us up.. and even if it did it will be gone (drained) as quick as it came in.
The typical stern-to mooring in many areas that you're planning to visit makes such arrangements very convenient, and the dinghy and swimming access it provides is a big advantage too.
However I suspect that at $30K you're unlikely to find too many boats big enough/new enough to have that feature so it may be a moot point. In that case perhaps focus on the best kept example of a proven, older design you can find. I met a couple recently who picked up a mid 70s PH41 (BC built cruiser/racer) in good shape for $40K - this is a boat you could take anywhere, so they are out there, and I understand the US market is pretty soft so a buyer has lots of leverage.
Good luck in your quest.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)