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Size is a factor of finance. Bigger is more comfortable, but it costs more to buy, maintain, and operate. Smaller gives you sailing skills without the complexity of big boat systems....outboard vs inboard....armstrong vs winches.....trailer vs berthing.......home vs yard maintenance. Condition is king as replacing equipment and structure is expensive. Best to find the best for the least money. PO did the work and spent the money to upgrade and maintain = you get to enjoy. PO did not do the work and did not spend the money = you lose. Two approaches.....buy it done or buy good bones and fix as you have time and money. Best depends on you. If you are not handy, buy it done. If you are, doing it yourself gives you the knowledge of how it was installed and that makes future repairs easier. If you do not do a good job, this backfires, so don't fool yourself. Lots of electronics and gear may not be best becaue if they are 5-10 years old, they are bound to fail or need major repair soon. Old boats are smaller than new boats. If you are small in stature, an older boat may work for you. A 20-22 is least cost but requires compromises. A 25 is a sweet spot, because it is big enough and small enough. The 27s are a good compromise as many are good small yachts and two ft does help. The 30s make very good all around cruisers. They are big enough to provide the accomodations to make cruising comfortable and small enough not to break the budget. So establish your budget and find a boat that fits your skills. Look at an O'Day 22, a Bene 235, a Stonehorse, a Balboa 25, a Coronado 25, a Catalina 27, a C&C 29, and a Pearson 30. They represent a cross section of the designs but not the only choices that will work. Then look for the best deal in the best condition that meets your requirements. And hold back 25% of the purchase price to make the boat yours. Do it and enjoy the experience.
Last edited by Cherie320; 10-06-2011 at 01:51 PM.