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Old 01-21-2013
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Re: Stepping up...

Lots and lots of options for you. The Contest/Conyplex boats (29-33ft) are super-stout, good looking, have tons of stowage, and are exceptionally well built. Excellent ones available w/in your budget. Bit rarer on the left coast. Not terribly fast, but comfortable.

Contest 31 - Pictures - a boat for sale

Any of the C&Cs or Cals could make the South Pacific trip. Good-sailing sloops. Another excellent value is Cal's cousin, the Ranger 33. Gary Mull design, impeccable manners, faster than it looks. Like the Cals, it was intended for coastal. But they are built well enough for longer crossings. The Ranger is narrower than modern boats, and many still have the Atomic 4 engine. Which some people love. Can be problematic in the tropics, tho.

1976 Ranger Ranger 33 sailboat for sale in California

Islander 34 and 36 are also good boats; they might want a little beefing up before going large, but that's what Zach Sunderland took around the world. You can find a good 36 for under $20k.

Last thought would be an older Beneteau First. The lineup from 30-37 ft has a racing history but also turned out to be capable offshore cruisers. Will likely have higher initial cost than the others: you might find a 305 near your price point, but the roomier & more comfortable 34-37 footers are north of $50k. Good boat for the sailor interested in zippy bay sailing and fast passages.

For any of these semi-coastal boats, tankage is going to be a major concern. You may want to shop with one eye towards where you will stow another 50 gallons of water. I'm not a fan of jerrys on the rail, but that's one way people deal with it. Also, what kind of self-steering will you be using, and how easy is that to arrange on each candidate. Good luck in your search!
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