I just sold my 1988 N-27 after sailing her for 8 happy years on Lake Michigan. Mine had a propshaft/coupler problem that required the replacement of the coupler every couple of years, but I think that it was a problem with that particular boat and not of the Newports in general. My wife and I cruised her some, doing a couple of Lake Michigan crossings, and found her to be a comfortable cruiser for 2 for limited (2-week) periods of time. Ours had a Univeral 18 diesel which gave us no trouble during the time we had her.
One thing that I did notice about the N-27 was that she really did not like to carry a lot of genoa. Ours came with a 140 and for years I griped about her upwind performance. She just didn''t like to point very high. I also had a 110 and for no particular reason decided to fly that one season. What a difference that made! Even though Michigan is known as a light air lake, I''d fly the 110 any day for the improved upwind performance.
We eventually decided that we wanted a heavier, more comfortable boat and recently purchased a 1983 Nauticat 36 pilothouse ketch. I really, really like the NC-36, but I''ll always have a soft spot in my heart for that Newport.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.