I (always) have my 3 boats for 3 foot-itis picked out...
The C&C 29 Mark II is on that list... Curious which others? J28, and Beneteau 285.
Each has their bennies (for me) versus downsides.
For the C&C 29 (again Mark II, as the Mark I, isn't a starter for me, mostly due to width - long story) owners... I've seen where in light air the baby-stay isn't really necessary (can you confirm this?).. I'm assuming flat water is a requirement as well? As the baby stay is used to "pre-bend" the mast correct?
Also again for C&C 29-2 owners, if you solo the boat, do you find the traveler at the companionway "within reach" and do you sail to the side and forward of the wheel?
You see the things that drove me to the list above with plusses and minuses spelled out...
C&C 29-2, well built, cockpit is laid out correctly, sails well, masthead rig (which I like), deep fin leaded keel, with solid glass hull (cored decks). The downsides I noted was the traveler (which I play like a violin now on my S2) was at the companionway (OK, but a pretty big stretch solo), and it's a keel stepped mast (that's good for performance bad for trailering), and the baby-stay (again good for tuning, bad for dealing with tacking). Below is a traditional layout which I like and seems like its pretty high quality.
J28, this is my ideal layout, all the controls are setup to sit to the side of the wheel, traveler is at the helm position, boat is cored hull, and cored deck (ugh), the J boat premium I think is a bit over the top, down below is an OK layout, but not luxurious. Loving the destroyer wheel. The fractional rig is just ho-hum to me, but I'm sure it also affords an easier to solo sailplan. The boat is really to heavy to trailer comfortably, although I know its been done. Keel stepped mast (again good for tuning, lousy for trialering).
Bene 285, this is probably the easiest to setup to trailer, I love the cabin, seems nicely laid out, with quality components. I hate that most have issues with the headliner, but I could deal with that. Even the "fin" keel has winglets, and a shallower draft. The default wheel configuration has the traveler on the coach roof, although I've seen some with the traveler at the companionway (better). Love the look of this boat best, but I've read the steel keels can be an issue and handling/performance isn't really there (despite the numbers).
Right now there are few J28s available (1 or 2), the B 285, there are a couple (5? around the USA), and C&C 29-2s there are several (more than 5) and all seem to be nicely equipped, one is a real stand-out and near me, for a reasonable price. I could be tempted to auction off my soul to get the right boat (would likely name it "Last boat IV" as I'm at 3 boats in 4 years right now). Meanwhile I might also wind up divorced
, only partially kidding on that one.
Trailering is the only option on my local lake, and we don't have a travel lift or a mast crane (although they've been able to use a industrial fork lift to raise the mast on a Capri 30 locally, also keel stepped)... The local lake isn't my only option but it's my most convenient one (everything else is 2+ hours from home and roughly twice or more what I pay for a boat slip now).