Opinions on 28’ daysailing/cruising sloops?
Aging former dinghy sailor (me) and a power boater (she), looking for a keelboat for recreational daysailing and coastal cruising on the west coast of FL, and perhaps eventually the near offshore (Bahamas, US East Coast).
Priorities are wheel steering, swim platform, reliable 2+cyl diesel, 2 private berth areas, 28-29’ LOA, ~6’ headroom, roller-furling foresail, little/no exterior bright work, bimini, shoal draft (4’ or less), and solidly built and easy/fun to sail (a stable, balanced, quick-ish, responsive sloop).
Secondary preferences are lines led aft, lazy jacks/stackpack for main sail, self-tailing winches, stern seats, transom/cockpit shower, opening ports/good ventilation, integrated AC, decent joinery-work below, and a comfortable cabin.
Budget is $20-45K.
After a few years looking, I’ve narrowed the search to 4 models:
(1) Beneteau Oceanis 281 (built 1995-2001)
(2) Catalina 28mkII (built 1990-2010)
(3) Hunter 28 (built 1989-1994)
(4) Precision 28 (built 1989 - ??)
Of these, the Bene and the Precision are the most similar – each is 192-201 in PHRF range (2014), fin keel with bulb, and a bit narrower and a lot lighter than the others (and the Bene has a much lower D/B ratio, under 30%).
The Catalina is the longest, heaviest, and slightly slower (PHRF 195-210). The Hunter (surprisingly?) is the widest, 2nd-heaviest, and fastest (PHRF 174-195). The Cat and Hunter both have wing keels.
The Bene and Cat have masthead rigs, and the Hunter and Precision are fractionally rigged.
On paper (putting the B&R rig aside for the moment), it looks like the Hunter 28 is the best compromise of comfort, ease, and speed, but we haven't been on one.
We’ve been on Cat 28s, and like them. They are more numerous than the Bene 281s and the Hunter 28s (let alone the rare Precision 28s, many of which are actually the predecessor P-27).
Before going on the road to see these other boats, I’m soliciting informed, general opinions about these 4 models. If you own, owned, or have sailing experience on any one or more of these 4 models, I’d appreciate if you’d offer your comments and observations.
Beneteau First 265, VT