This is a pretty old thread but you should know that Catalina makes a 14.2 with a fixed keel that is used in many rental fleets. It is self righting so you don't need a hobie bob and as stable as a dinghy can get. When buying a boat please remember that salesmen will say anything to get you to buy a boat and paper holds anything you put on it whether true or outright lies..
1. $$$ I am on a tight budget and grabbed mine for $1200, only a 5 hour drive to seal the deal. Most of the ones I saw for sale would have posed a major transportation problem getting to Chicago.
2. Being a singlehander, I preferred the beachability and ease of the lightweight boat for launch/retrieve/and general trailer handling.
3. Out of the 3 times I got out last October one of them was in 20 + winds. Sailed with main only and with vigilance was able to keep good control. The boat handled well. Even got my treasured hat
knocked off and was able to retrieve it while underway!
4. Since I bought mine for cheap that left me with some $$ to invest in improvements. Specifically to address the "tender boat" problem. So I will:
a. Modify jib to roller furling. That will give the option of jib usage depending on my take on wind speeds, even if I'm underway.
b. Install reef points on the main. Then I could decide how to set up the main before leaving the dock. I think running under reefed main only would tolerate some pretty strong winds.
c. Do the "Hobie Baby Bob" option for the top of the mast to guarantee no turtling.
d. Install boarding ladder on the stern to make recovery easier after righting the boat. Plus being able to cool off on hot light air days.
As previously stated, I would have preferred to have the fixed keel version. But only if it was possible to wet moor it for the season. Mine will be stored on trailer at a small local park district lake, all rigging left up and ready to go. Also will be doing a lot of "grab and go" trailering as there are a lot of nice medium sized lakes within close proximity and I plan to get out on those also. Even Lake Michigan when the forecasts are favorable. So I'm confident I can make this work!