Overview: I have been sailing for 30+ years and have owned several "pocket cruisers". My requirements for my boat are that I could spend a weekend on in reasonable comfort, have a reasonable level of performance and still be able to trailer with an average vehicle and not have to mortgage the family farm to afford. I feel the P-21 is one of the very few production boats that fore fills my requirements. I have found the P-21 to be roomy enough to spend a weekend on, a safe stable boat with excellent performance, easy to trailer and reasonable priced.
Quality of Construction: The P-21 is a production boat. I have experience with many other brands and feel the P-21 construction quality is well above average. The builder's attention to details (fit and finish) is quite good and demonstrates their commitment to providing a quality boat at an affordable price. The P-21 is equipped with quality deck hardware, standing rigging (rugged and well-made), sails and running rigging, etc. Like all production boats there are things that could be better, minor stuff that may or may not be important depending on the individual.
Amenities: The P-21 is equipped with a one burner stove, a sink with 5 gallons of water storage, place for a port-a-potty, a 50 Qt. cooler which also servers as the step into the cabin and 3 berths. 2 adults in the side berths and 2 (small) children in the for peak berth. The cockpit is roomy, over 7 foot long and plenty wide enough for four to be quite comfortable. There is a lot of storage space and sufficient room in the cabin. I really like the stern rail "cat bird" seats. All the expected electrical stuff is there (running lights, cabin lights, etc.). All in all the P-21 is well equipped and roomy enough to spend a weekend on in reasonable comfort.
Trailer, rigging, launching and recovering: The P-21 comes with a custom-made performance trailer. I purchased the optional "mast raising system". The P-21 trailers easily and securely. My current tow vehicle is an 88 Jeep Cherokee. Rigging the P-21 is quick and easy, takes me about 20 to raise the mast etc. and be ready to launch. The mast raising system is a real plus, however I made several modifications to be able to accomplish this by myself. Launching is a snap compared with my previously boats. I back the P-21 down the ramp, disconnect the winch strap and safety chain, board the boat and back off using the engine. No fuss, no bother, quick and easy. Recovering is almost just as easy, does require a little effort to crank the P-21 back on the trailer, not as much as my previously boats. One complaint - I do wish the Performance trailer came standard with POLY keel rollers instead of the bloody black rubber things. The POLY keel rollers really make all the difference! Un-stepping the mast is easy and quite effortless especially with the optional mast raising system. All in all the P-21 is a pleasure to trailer, rig, launch and recover, much simpler then one would expect with a boat of this size.
Sailing Performance: The P-21 is a shoal draft keel, centerboard combo design. I like this comprise. I am not a fan of either water ballast or swing keel designs. In my humble opinion both these designs are unsafe. The shoal draft keel, centerboard combo enhances the P-21's overall performance. The P-21 is a fractional hi-aspect-ratio rig, majority of the P-21's lift is from the mainsail. The headsail aids its pointing performance. The P-21 is sensitive to mast tuning, if the mast isn't tuned correctly the P-21 performance will suffer quite a bit. The P-21 sails well in light air (just remember to raise the centerboard). The rudder has sufficient area to hold the P-21 off the weather even when over-powered. I have sailed with full canvas in steady 15 knots with no untold problems. The P-21 is "self righting" - which means the P-21 should recover from a "knock down". The P-21 will sail just fine on the main alone, in fact the P-21 should never be sail with the headsail alone, puts too much stress on the rigging, the shrouds are set after of the mast. I happen to like a boat which heels (tender) then stiffens up (takes a set). I get a better feel for how "powered-up" the boat is and when to take appropriate steps as necessary. The P-21 fits this nicely. I do have one issue, I single hand most of the time and find the jib sheet cleats a real pain, miles from the helm and just plain useless. I intend to "fix" this issue this winter. Overall the P-21 is a great sailor!
Summary: I like the P-21, it is all I required and highly recommend the P-21. However, in my humble opinion, the P-21 may be more than a novice expects without either taking sailing lessons or having someone with sailing experience along until they become comfortable with the P-21's performance.