Originally Posted by unimacs
Anyway, like I said, my biggest challenge will be in separating dream from reality and then making an appropriate choice, - which may mean no boat at all and just sailing with the local club (and my little inflatable catamaran).
I have been in that situation before. And here is what I found. The family was good with doing some day sails and the Kids were up for the occasional overnight. The long weekend thing on a small boat is awesome for me but no so much for the little ones. I ended up doing more stuff in town than actually sailing. If it were a bigger boat with more creature comforts then my family would be more into staying on the boat.
I had a Mac Gregor 222 with the pop-up top and while at dock or anchor it made the cabin usable. I could launch in 2 feet of water and setup and launch took me 45 minutes by myself with a simple system to raise the mast. 1 year I had the boat on a dock and the other I had it stored mast up on the trailer in the marina lot. That saved me some cash and launch took 20 minutes.
I started off with a little 12 foot scow to hone my skills in understanding sailing and also to get my kids out in good conditions with little time investment in launch should they decide that the park was more fun than sailing that day. I did 85% of my sailing on a small boat without my family as many times the conditions were too rough for them or they just had other things that interested them more. Now that I am on bigger boats my wife has become more agreeable to weekend and even week long vacations on a boat but i have a realistic understanding that it won't be spent sailing as much as I would want to. For that I will be solo or with my buddies.
Maybe you could get something like this and keep it at the club to see how it goes.