For what it's worth, I rented a 33' 2002 Gib'Sea a few months ago on Lake Huron. While my sailing experience has been little as well, I did have experience on a 1994 30' Catalina
and a 1996 36' Catalina
The Catalina's in my opinion were much better boats. I experienced some rough waters on Lake Huron on the Gib'Sea and I really did struggle to keep her in line. I also had some rough waters on Lake Erie on the 36' Catalina. I didn't have to struggle as much with the Catalina. It just seemed to be a lot easier to handle and much more responsive at the helm
In addition, I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the swim platform I had on the Gib'Sea (not sure if the one you're looking at will have one or not). I guess these swim platforms can create problems in the stern berths. I heard this annoying water
all night long. Perhaps others can shed some light on this, but upon Googling I found out this is common with all boats with a swim platform?
Either way, I digress... We also had problems with the head
on the Gib'Sea. The rental company maintenance
guy came out twice to try and fix it, but it continued to have problems all week. They ended up completely rebuilding it after my rental. This was after a waste tank replacement before my trip.
Don't know if my experience is a common thing or not, but not a good first impression of a Gib'Sea. Especially for a boat that is "newer". Finally, I'm not 100% certain on this, but I believe the manufacturer is out of business for these boats as well.
I could be wrong though. I have known to be wrong on at least one or two other occassions... Just my 2 cents.