I should add that I am on my 3rd boat... and starting to become more sensitive to the question of quality.
When you are buying 20-30 year old boats, whether the manufacturer spent that extra time and effort to make those chinplates bulletproof starts becoming important
If you have already owned 3 boats, don't you kind of know already which boats are the best quality? It kind of looks like to me that this is another "lets beat up on MacGregor, Hunter, Beneteau, and Catalina" thread. If you want to push over trees, buy a Caterpillar, if you want to farm fields, buy Massy Ferguson or similar. That caterpillar is going to take a lot more abuse than the Massy Ferguson, but that doesn't make it a good match for typical farming. And buying a worn out caterpillar to get the rugged construction, and then using it for row farming is just making the situation worse.
I, for one, like those production brands that so many of you turn your noses up at. They give average people like me a reasonably good boat, completely suited for the way that average people are likely to use them. i.e., For the same money, I get a newer, larger, better equipped boat that will more than be a match for anything that I or mother nature will throw at it in the operating environment where I will be using it. My Catalina 320 that I bought new in 1999/2000 has done well, looks good in my eyes, and has never had serious maintenance problems. Of course, I could have bought a worn out caterpillar (I mean older quality boat) and knocked my self and my bank account out trying to keep it operating (oops...that is upgrading it) and still had something not worth very much, even through the brand is assumed to be better quality.