I appreciate the feedback!
I was/am fully prepared to hear "are you insane.?"
I just wanted to discuss this notion: if I were to buy a new 16, which costs 10,399 dollars (according to my dealer...). 10gs ain't a small sum. That's a lot of bread. And when I think about it, if I'm going to drop 10gs I don't want to regret not getting the best boat possible. This may sound completely ridiculous, but spending 10k on a sailboat is insane, and at that point is there huge difference between 10 and 24 if I would regret not getting the best one.
From the posts, I think the answer is so much more complex than that. The Wildcat while fascinating, seems way beyond my abilities (but I live on a lake).
You can get a really nice older cat for $2-3k that would be just as fun and quicker to set up. You don't need to buy new with cats. I have a great 1983 H18 that I have under $2k invested in and it is fun.
What you want to do with the boat is really the determination of what is the best boat for you. If you plan to race or just sail fast across the lake it will make a difference. Do you want to sail solo or with a crowd, setup time is also a big factor.
Let us know what you want to do and we can better guide you.