When I first took up sailing a little under two years ago, I bought a Coronado 25 because it was inexpensive, rock-solid, simple and I felt that a boat of only 25' wouldn't overwhelm me while I was learning.
I also had NO idea that the racing bug would bite me so hard.
I still don't want to be overwhelmed by too much boat, need to be able to singlehand, and need to be able to afford maintenance and upkeep, which grows exponentially with boat length.
To these ends, I have selected the Pearson 30. On the "racy" side of "racer/cruiser", affordable, decent handicap rating, and there are several in my area so I stand a chance of being able to do one-design racing. The cabin isn't a roomy and plush as some other designs, but it's far, far better than my Coronado 25. I'll definitely be able to cruise the Chesapeake with this boat.
Pending successful engine and transmission demonstration on Sunday, I'll make the payment and be an owner!