buying first boat
We are certainly getting away from Jerry''s question but suffice it to say there is no single right answer or boat and perhaps that is instructive for Jerry.
My criteria for selection of my boat were very complex and lengthy. I wanted a boat that would do a wide variety of things from long distance bluewater cruising to being a potential home for me. I do think Jerry is thinking along these lines. Also, I have a basic predjudice for heavy boats, this comes from my experience not just in sailing but in sea time on ships and small craft.
Jeff has an educated and technical point of view that is supported by data. I think he also realizes that many things are a personal choice. Without discussing differing points of view, how would any of us be able to decide on what is best for us. So I think this is a good discussion.
Would I have gotten a fractional rig if all things being equal? Not sure. I am not at all convinced that I want to wrestle with a larger main either when heading out or when it comes to handling it in a blow. With the roller furling jib (assuming of course it works) and my nice oversized Lewmars, I can trim the jib from the cockpit. Yes, the roller furling can fail (I have ProFurl though) and yes, as soon as you trim in you lose a certain amount of efficiency of the sail. But... as I weigh those factors against going up on deck for the main... I might chose the rig I have now... and getting the most out of my rig is not my goal in sailing (I hope that does not make me less of a sailor).
As for the Hood and light air...Jeff is certainly correct. I probably should have qualified that statement (although, honestly, I am impressed with her light air performance). The Hood 38 has good light air performance for a boat her size and considerable displacement (22,000 lbs)... and Ted Hood is known for designing boats (Bristol 35.5) that have this quality.
As for tenderness, remember, the boat in FLA was highly modified in a BAD way by the owner, including a monsterous and heavy contraption on the stern extending high off the deck to change her cg and righting moment (I suspect).
I actually think this has been a very good discussion for Jerry. He can see that there are different schools of thought, there is no perfect boat (they are all compromises) and everything is relative. And when looking at boats, look closely for things the owner did that seriously detract from the boats seaworthiness (trust me, the list is long).
Incidentally, this very debate is why I suggested Jerry go through a process of deciding on his personal needs and criteria first.
My best to all.
Hope this helps.