Also, can anyone tell me why there is such a poor selection of brands in the Great Lakes area when there seems to be all kinds of makes and models in the eastern coast of the US? Does the selection improve in summer?
I guess it depends on where you live. I grew up around Lake Ontario
. Given you have a budget
I think I would get away from shopping
by brand. I really would not put too much into one over another. For just weekend cottage you don't have a great many requirements that you have mentioned yet. Most anything you could consider would meet those requirements. You are not in the ball park for 38 ft new boats, but no need to think only of new boats. Good used boats are plentiful. Many could meet the budget
In that part of the world folks have to haul out
for the winter and boats tend to go to places not all that visible. I don't think they make many more over the winter. The east coast
is bigger than the population around the Great Lakes so there would be more boats in the larger coastal cities. A lot of people like sailing the Great Lakes and we have a few here. Lots of fun places and an extra country to deal with too.
Hunters and Beneteaus are actually similar boats to Catalinas in that they are designed for the same market as Catalina
. They all changed over the years and you may find one year you like better. The older Hunter
Legend 36's and Catalina 34 Mk II are both exceptionally popular boats. They target weekend sailors that cruise
relatively close to home and maybe do vacations now and then. A quick trip to the Bahamas
That covers a great many people and maybe includes you too. I would suggest you crawl on more boats and compare prices to see how far your money
can go. Maybe do a charter
before you spend the bigger money
One place to look at boats On Line is yachworld.com
The search tool lets you put in all sorts of criteria about size and budget and even geography. It's something to do until it warms up.