Ben, Thanks, at last someone who doesn't talk chocolate fireguards, or handbrakes for canoes.
Poole is my choice on account of its proximity to home, and in fact Coolcats is where I did my weekends course. Having sailed on that side of Poole and found it generally to my liking, I would hope to sail more there as opposed to within the harbour. I've been on the chain ferry many times - prsumably it is easy enough for a small cat to shoot the entrance if one needs to?(wind dependent of course).
£3000 is about my budget;having done some searches there appear to be some around with some good packages - trailer, launching trolley etc. I've seen a couple of 16s for £3000 both about 1988/89 vintage. Is that reasonable?