Bristol 24 Having looked at two of these in the last year they are amazing. Cabin wise, there is a ton of room and the boat has those classic lines you expect to see on a full keel boat. The first one we looked at was a project gone bad. The owner dropped the mast and the deck was a bit of a wreck. The second was off in the middle of the state. A farm field boat. It was in much better condition cosmetically, however, the keel was suffering from significant water intrusion that would have required some serious effort to dry it out. The boat was also missing several key rigging components. Again, full keel boats have significant range limitations due to their speed.
Hinterholler 25 Is one of the early Keelboat designs. A stretched out version of the Shark 24 these boats have a nice look to them. However, everything I have read and seen about them they seem to have some significant structural issues that pushed them out of consideration for us. One of my favorite video bloggers did a review of one a few years back. Here's the link.
Some Newer Designed Keelboats (70's-80's)
Mirage 24 This the C&C design that got away. C&C sold this design off to one of their dealers who went to Canada and started the Mirage line of boats. We have looked at two of these both well built and holding up despite their age. A high contender for our next boat.
C&C24 We went and checked one of these out. This one is just all over the place. Not sure what the designer was thinking. The weird head placement, mainsheet anchored to the center of the cockpit floor for us, we just did not love this boats set up. Also, the one I walked on had decks so soft I thought my foot was going to go through the cabin top.
Hunter 25 This one should have been a consideration but after talking to a few owners they have not loved the boat for their sail-ability. So these were bumped from our list.
Catalina 250 This is one I felt had great potential but the open design of these newer boats in a non-starter for my wife. She likes the privacy the bulkhead between the v-berth and main cabin provide.
Beneteau First 235: While loved by their owners I just can't see us in one. These boats are faster than anything else we are looking at. The reviews say they can be a bit unstable at times. We're not looking for a race that we will need to sit on the gunwale to keep upright. Also, the price point on these is right at the top of our range so there would be little room for improvement. The 235 has the modern open layout not loved by my wife and the aft quarter berth just I can't see anyone sleeping in there.
Hunter 23 FK We took a look at one of these. It is very reminiscent of my old Catalina 22. Great boat for 2 but a bit crowded for three.
So far these are the boats we have considered if you have any suggestions throw them down in the comments. I can't wait to see what's on your daydream list. =-)
Meanwhile, we are off to look at another boat this time in St. Claire. It's 14 degrees here.