A Marshall 22 catboat might be worth your consideration, but you'd have to look at the older models to get with $5K of your budget. You may pay more, but these boats tend to depreciate very slowly.
The Marshall 22 (10' beam, 2' draft (board up) and 5660# displacement) was made in both cat- and sloop-rigged versions. There are some examples for sale in the $15k range at CBA: Cats4Sale FALL 2012 Bulletin No.159
. Catboats have stood the test of time and are relatively forgiving as long as you reef when you first think about it. They have large cockpits and make great daysailers. They are descendants of working coastal boats of over a hundred years ago and are great in light air, but can handle some pretty rough conditions that would challenge a lighter sloop like a Catalina 22 (which has half the displacement and a much narrower beam.)
Interesting, thanks! Don't know much about cat boats, but I did see one made by a local boat-builder, Com-Pac/Hutchins, at the St. Pete Boat Show this year. Loved the tabernacle mast; it seems the easiest possible way to set up/tear down from a trailer, and apparently it works underway for low bridges too.
Never having sailed a cat boat, can you tell me a little about how they differ, for better or worse, in speed, pointing ability, and other basic sailing characteristics from a traditional monohull sloop of similar size?
It looks like the larger cat boats are generally 17-22" LOD, and while most have only a main sail, others appear to be sloop-rigged. What are the pros/cons of having a headsail/s on a cat boat?
It also looks like many of these are wooden boats, or at least have wooden spars - that gives me pause, here in FL. They appear to be relatively wide beamed, low draft, and heavy - which leads me to believe they'd be slower craft that may not sail well windward, while perhaps otherwise solid and steady sailers. Yet you say these boats are also good in light air, which seems contradictory. (?)
Almost all catboats I've seen mentioned online are located in the Northeastern US. Any reasons for this, other than maritime tradition? Are they comfortable boats to sail and crew in hot, humid, and variable sailing conditions?
Any other insights (or links to insight) you or others could share on these or other relevant points would be very much appreciated. Thanks!