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Surprised no one has answered you yet so I thought I would give it a shot. Of course I am a bit bias as I own a Cal 34, but from all of the research I have done on boats of this age, the Cal is a very solid, well built boat. They have a reputation of being tough, yet very easy to sail and quite comfortable. They track well and are very dry. If you Google a bit, you will see that these boats have circumnavigated and done a bunch of California to Hawaii races over the years. If you google this site, stirlinglaw cal28, (I can't paste links yet as I don't have enough posts, but you will find it easily) you will see a lot of history on the 28 as well as the other models.
As far as comparing them to Catalinas and Hunters, I think I would lean more twords the Ericson and Pearson in quality and performance. The Cal 34 is a very comfortable boat, yet can put some serious water under the keel each day. There are a good sampling of all three in my marina and I can safely say I would rather be on a '68 Cal in the middle of the ocean than an 80+ Cat or Hunter. Good luck with your search and be sure to check out a Cal or two.
Last edited by Skylark23455; 08-27-2009 at 05:08 PM.