Mortimer, all good points. You and I are on the same sailing path, having both owned a Dana and now a 31.
I own a 1989 PSC 31 and prior a Dana 24. Both were cutter rigged. The Dana was perfect and a dream to sail. You do not experience yaw in either boat. My 31 has a wheel and because you can't feel the tiller pressure is a little harder to set the sails perfectly. However, I thought the sails were harder to manage on the 31. On a broad reach you can hit 7.8 knots in an above moderate blow. With both foresails, I believe we point as well as most other boats and never felt disadvantaged. Trick is to put reefs in main and keep the foresails up.
I largely concur with your sailing observations above. Except that, overall, I have found the larger size of the 31 to be easier to manage, maybe because the wheel tidies up the cockpit and can be locked off. We usually sail with a 120% genoa and sometimes a staysail.
Here is the problem with the 31. The water tanks are not SS, but instead fiberglass with either a plexiglass or plywood top that is siliconed in place. On my Dana the water tank was SS. In any event, it has been my experience that the aft water tank under the quarterbirth has a habit of leaking near the out edge near the hull. You must removed the plywood and reseal it in silicone every few years to ensure no leaks.
Our 31 is one year newer, with the plastic tank lids instead of the plywood lids. I've never had to rebed ours, and they don't leak. A lot of owners with plywood lids have upgraded to the plastic ones with good results. Search the e-mail forum for "how-to" discussions. But you're right, I miss the Dana's metal tanks.
If you install air conditioning and/or refrigeration you will find that hanging locker stowage is almost nil unless you get really inventive where you place the compressor(s).
Our fridge compressor is in the aft-most compartment under the starboard settee (immediately adjacent to the ice-box), so it doesn't use up precious hanging locker space. We don't have Air Conditioning, but I'd probably install it in the wet locker aft of the head if we ever wanted it.
However, here are some plus marks, the cockpit layout works well and the boat is very comfortable.
Agreed. The cockpit design, though somewhat unusual, is very clever and comfortable both underway and at anchor.