I'd point out that cruising the California coast or to Hawaii is best done in a more robust boat than just hopping to the Chanel islands and daysailing. However, trying to find boats with two large cabins, while eliminating Beneteau, Catalina and Hunter, really reduces the field of boats to look at.
Bavaria, Dehler, Dufour are some of the more recent brands that you might look at. However, there are a lot of older boats that might be worth considering. Ericsons, O'Days, CS, might also be good candidates. I'd also recommend that you be a bit more flexible on the length, since the CS36T might be a good choice, but is outside the 32-35' range you've stated.
Tartan and C&C are also possible choices, but you might want to be very wary about them, since there have been some serious problems on some of their newer boats.
I would point out that a well-maintained older boat may well be a better choice than a newer, less well-built boat, especially if the boat hasn't been meticulously maintained.
I'd recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips
thread I started, as it will help you determine whether any boats you're looking at are worth going forward with or not.
I’ve been reading this board for a while and am impressed by both the knowledge of the regular posters and the maturity level of the debate/opinions provided. While the internet is an amazing tool, too many boards degenerate into name-calling and other unhelpful flaming when people line up on different sides of an issue. That doesn't seem to be the case with SailNet.
Anyway, here goes...
I've been sailing sporadically since I was in my early 20s (just turned 40) but have never owned my own boat. Instead, I've been lucky enough to have regularly sailed with close friends who trusted my skills and competence. For years, I was a regular second banana on my buddy's J-24, which he kept New York Harbor. When I moved to Southern California nearly ten years ago, I had the privilege of spending quite a bit of time sailing with a friend on his immaculately kept Newport 30 MkII. Most of our Southern California sailing has been day sails but we've also spent a fair amount of time on short trips (3 to 10 days) off the Channel Islands. My buddy with the Newport had the gall to relocate to Santa Cruz, leaving me without access to something I really love. I guess it’s time to put my money were my heart is.
I'm currently considering my first boat purchase and want something that will suit my needs while also standing out from the crowd. I'm a practical guy in general and am looking for a late model used boat - I'm happy to let someone else take the depreciation hit.
My needs, as far as I can tell right now, are simple:
• A boat between say 32 and 35 feet that I can single-hand
• The ability to do weekend and longer (7-10 days) trips out to the Channel Islands with up to three guests comfortably – meaning two decent sized cabins.
• Large interior volume for a given LOA - I understand that offshore boats tend to be small inside but I’m not planning on taking on the roaring 40s anytime soon.
• A more traditional looking boat – I prefer the look of a Tartan to a Catalina, particularly when it comes to the cabin/deck and transom.
• The ability, eventually, to cruise up the California coast and maybe to Hawaii when the prevailing weather is good.
• Of course, build quality is extremely important. I’ve been in some snotty weather before and don’t want to worry about my craft falling apart on me.
As I mentioned, I’m not really into the looks of the Catalina, Beneteau, Hunter as they seem sort of plasticy and overly “modern” – just my opinion – but also realize that more traditional designs tend to have limited interior volume and are perhaps more expensive. That being said, I think that my budget limitations pretty much dictate I’m going to be looking for something at this end of the pricing spectrum.
Any suggestions? I’m hoping to get into something that’s less than ten years old for under $125k.