Originally Posted by tdw
Lots of good stuff here though I don't really qualify to comment.
Nonetheless it looks like I'm about to.
Doug S makes a good point re boat size and yes bigger probably is better although the number of people you intend to have on board at any time must be a consideration. Our rules is half a dozen for a day sail and/or the same maximum for dinner. Four for the occasional over nighter but only two long term. More than that and we'd need more than 42'. To be honest the costs involved in running a 50'er puts that pretty much out of the question though money aside it would probably be much more boat than we'd ever need.
Brian, one point of course is that for you with family, size and storage capacity will be more of a problem squeezing everything in that it would be for a couple of old misanthropes like me and the Wombet. So we have space aplenty (not strictly true of course) on the Womboat while e.g TheTardis who appears to be a youngster can exist quite comfortably in 30'. I know that I could have existed quite happily on our old 34'er but for the two of us it was something of a squeeze, primarily lack of footsie room in the (very veed) v berth. Cramped head and galley were also an issue though not as much so. Also have to thoroughly agree with you that if non cruising liveaboard is where you are at then get a stinker and be done with it. Even I would go that route simply cos I love being on the water. The chance to go sailing is just a bonus.
To be clear ...
TheTardis - at my age anyone under the age of forty is a youngster, no offence intended.
All - we don't live aboard permanently. Try for three day weekends and a couple of longer stints during the years. Nonetheless the Womboat is pretty much set up for liveaboard and provided we were not still working then we could and would move aboard quite happily.
Oh yes .... fully enclosed or at least enclosable cockpit is for me non negotiable. I can cope with pretty much any on board drawback provided I can always get out into the cockpit. On the Womboat we have set her up so that even in driving rain when at anchor, we can still use the cockpit with the sides open. There is little worse than having a cockpit enclosure that lets in said driving rain in hot weather.
Finally ... if you cannot live aboard your boat at anchor then I'm thinking fail. Not that checking into a marina now and then is a bad thing but for me the idea of marina liveaboard dose not appeal.
OK.... and to live aboard at anchor, we have an Onan diesel generator, solar panels, a water maker, a full size washer & dryer, 2 showers, etc. My wife and I can run her just fine. Not, "too big to handle".
Buy as big as you can afford to, you will not be un-happy.
Buying smaller than you can afford, you might very well be very unhappy.