Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance
I suggest that a Pearson or c&c are both great sturdy boats and faster than most. Nothing wrong with a cat 30. You get a lot of features for your dollar with a hunter but give up something in build quality - at least in the model years you would be looking at. Can't comment on the others.
One more pc of advice, pay attention to what comes with the boat. It is easy to get focused only on the boat itself thinking that everything else can be added or improved later. Things like sails, blocks, roller furling, GPS, plumbing, dingy and outboard, etc. can easily add up. In fact, they can add up to as much as you are budgeting for your whole boat.
Just saying remember to compare the stuff that the boat comes with when comparing boats.
1971 Pearson 33 (for sale!)
1992 Hunter Legend 35.5