You will get an enourmous divergence of opinion about which is best. so here is my input:
Prout (especially Snowgoose Elite or 38ft) very capable offshore
long distance cruisers, built for bad weather
and proven over the years.
- follow on from the Prouts - a much more modern design and better sailors (especially the 44) very good in bad weather
- solid french designs with nice interior
(shame about the exterior) a lot of the charter
boats are not tuned for sailing very well
- nice looking boats (different ones e.g. athena, Tobago
etc) all with nice interior
, however IMHO they are built to light - this does mean that they are fast, and a new boat is going to be fine, but cross these off your list if you are contemplating an ex-charter boat, and try to avoid bad weather.
- Nice boats that are heavily built, thus tend to be a bit motor
sailors when trying to go upwind. Luxurious interiors.
Voyage - Nice looking boats with good interiors. The latest 38 design (built by Maxim) is well worth a couple of good looks (ask S/V Makai). I would be tempted if I had the money!
Woods Designs (Eclipse, Flica etc) - normally home completed in UK, the interiors tend to be open plan and not finished to the same degree of luxury. They are excellent sailors and as proved by Richard Woods recent experience, good in bad weather.
- US design with good reputation - built light with outboards sufficient as power plants, I suspect that these are better as coastal boats rather than long distance boats but I dont really have any evidence to support this.
- another US design - appears to be very favourably received by their owners.
- dont know anything about these
Wildcat - dont touch with a barge pole. evidence of poor construction and zero interest from the builders.
- very old design and very poor to windward. very family
friendly and comfortable cruisers. the 12m is very nice and good value for money
, but very scarce. Load carrying capability on the 8 and 9m versions precludes round the world
trips, but good across the Atlantic. fine boat in bad weather.
Heavenly Twin - The final version (Mk 3) is a good boat, and at 27ft long has a surprising degree of comfort and space. A number of these have made it round the world
Hope this helps, it really only just scratches the surface, and I hope I have not offended anyone - these are after all just my opinion!