In July of 2003 I bought my first sailboat, a Catalina 22 trailer sailer. I found that I loved sailing and wanted a bigger boat, one my family could spend a weekend on. I wanted something in the 28-32 ft range. I started looking at September of ''03. Not seriously, just looking around to see what was out there.
My budget was $15-20K, so I was looking at boats from the late 70''s to mid 80''s. I don''t know much about boats, so I looked at many boats. As I did my homework I discovered a few things:
1. No matter what the boat, the owners will all tell you that the boat is great.
2. No matter what the boat, some non-owners will tell you the boat stinks.
3. There are some boats that just about everyone loves. Unfortunately, those boats tend to be very expensive.
4. For standard day sailing - coastal cruising type boats, there really isn''t that much difference between them.
I looked at many boats, including S2, Catalina, Hunter, Newport, O''Day, Ericson, Cal, Islander, Endeavour, Irwin, Watkins, and maybe a few more. After a while, they all started to look the same.
In the fall of ''03 I went to a boatyard to look at an S2 9.2A, but that S2 had bad water damage from the chainplates (I looked at 3 S2 9.2A and they all had rotten bulkheads from chainplate leaks), so I asked the broker if he had anything similar. He showed me a Newport 28 that I really liked. It was reasonably priced too.
I continued my education over the winter and looked at lots of boats in the spring. I concentrated on Catalina 30 and I saw a few good ones that I could afford. Unfortunately, one I really loved sold the day before I could convince my wife to make an offer. Then I found a Newport 28 about 5 minutes from my house. The boat was in poor condition, but it reminded me of the boat I saw the previous fall. That boat was still available, and the price was dropped to what I thought was a good deal.
To end this long story, I bought the boat in June and I''m very happy with it. Compared to Catalina, the interior is nicer (teak and holly sole, nicer wood work, etc.). I think that Newport boats, especially boats from 85 on, are good value. I think that all Newport 28''s come with hot and cold water, pressure water, fresh water cooled diesel engine, cabin top mounted traveler. My boat came with Lewmar ST winches. All lines led aft. Single line reefing, Furlex roller furling, 6 sails (2 main, 150 genoa, 100 jib, spinnaker and pole plus all the lines to operate the pole and brand new asymmetric spinnaker in a new ATN sock), 10'' dingy, and a host of other stuff. I paid $15K for it.
I have sailed my boat in 25 kt winds and I had a great time and I''m still here.
So I am not intimating that Newport''s are the best boat out there. I do think they are basic sold boats and are good value.
If you are still interested, there is a Newport email list from sailnet.