Try to obtain a copy of Good Old Boat magazine's review of the Columbia 28, some years back. I don't remember the details but it said something to the effect of, not a world girdler, but a comfortable coastal cruiser.
We sailed Lake Erie for a couple years with ours, in all kinds of weather as were learning and preparing to cruise full-time. We took 8 foot waves (very steep, too) occasionally and never felt out of control.
Based on our Columbia experience we purchased another larger boat (Coronado 41) built in the Columbia factory.
If/when we become CLOD's (cruisers living on dirt) we'd be happy to find another Columbia 28.