I know the Contessa since I have one having been through this process. True in a reputable review it is described as like a submarine, referring to water
over the decks. I can't say I have seen this despite going through a gale with wind
over a 2-3 knot
My understanding is that a heavier boat will tend to be wetter whereas a lighter boat will tend to be bouncier.
I think the issue with the Contessa is mainly spray coming up about a metre back from the bow and being blown back into the cockpit
. which makes it wet and unpleasant despite a sprayhood. My solution is to mount teak
strakes to divert the water
back down. I did this on another boat to excellent effect.
It is a very good seaboat capable of going anywhere and being singlehanded. I like the wide decks and bulwarks which give a sense of security
when going forard. I know of people who have lived and sailed long distances on 32' and there are cost advantages.
However there is a degree of space and comfort missing that another 4' might well provide. It depends on one's age, tolerance of others onboard, and of discomfort. It also depends on whether on is actually going to do significant blue water sailing
Having been through the process and looked over many boats although the numbers here are limited over a long period, I opted for this because it fitted my budget
at the time although a bit smaller than my preference and because it had many of the offshore
items required like SSB windvane steering
etc that can add up. That said it still required a lot of work and $$. It was the right choice for me at that time from what was available. Whether it remains so depends on various things.
Your choice will be wider, but I daresay you will encounter much the same issues. Hidden problems, budget
restraints etc. I found spending an hour or more on initial appraisal of a boat valuable then doing a detailed research
on them including owner blogs.