Join Date: Nov 2005
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Many of us hold back from responding to posts such as yours because the usual cast of experts jump in so quickly. But given the lack of traffic on your specific query, here are some thoughts.
But first, my bias: I currently own a Pearson, my second one. In general, I don''t think you can beat them for price and quality. My opinion only of course. Other opinions may vary.
I did a search on Yachtworld typing in your price and size range for an idea of what else is out there in addition to what you have named already. The following Pearsons are worth a look: 30, 303, 33 (early 70''s vintage is in your price range, not the mid-''80''s version), 323 and 35. My favorite of that lot for your purpose is probably the 323. Very salty boat that others have done a lot of bluewater sailing in. But you also seem to indicate a preference for two cabins and not just settee berths for a couple, so that will limit your choices also.
Other boats that caught my eye are the Sabre 28, Sabre 30, Tartan 30 and Tartan 33.
I cut my sailing teeth on Catalina 27s and 30s. If you can get one that''s been babied, they are worth a look.
Hard to tell from your post how much looking you have done, but get out and see as many of these (and other boats) in the flesh as you can. For the liveability part, lie down in the vee berth and aft cabins (if they have one) in the boats to see how comfy they are. Also think about where 4 people are going to stow their stuff for either a weekend or a week.
If you narrow it down to a few models, I also suggest joining that email lists here on Sailnet. You can ask questions about the particular models you''re interested in and get input from current owners. Contrary to what people think, my experience with owner input here on Sailnet is that they tell you all about their boats -- both the good and the bad. If someone sugar coats all their comments, discount what they say. EVERY boat has compromises and downsides. Input from current owners also is much better than an opinion you might get on this BB from someone who was on a particular boat once 10 years ago.
If nothing else, lurk on the email lists and read about the problems others write in about. You can get a wealth of knowledge just by doing that.
Hope this helps.