I'd second Chris White's The Cruising Multihull, and also recommend Thomas Firth Jones's Multihull Voyaging.
Also, I'd recommend chartering the boat you're most interested in as well.
I'd also recommend getting the smallest boat you're comfortable with... since larger boats also have larger costs associated with them, and also require more strength since the sails are larger, the anchors are heavier, etc.... Yes, electric winches and windlasses help to a point, but they don't do much for you when you're trying to wrestle the mainsail down and put it into a sailbag... or haul the anchor off the roller and stow it in the locker for a bluewater passage...
Finally, mistakes on a larger boat can quickly become dangerous. Having a problem with the jib on a 30' boat, you can often muscle the sail down or furl it manually. Doing the same thing on a boat that is 40' LOA isn't generally possible. A 40' boat isn't 33% larger than a 30' boat...but more like 135% larger...since boats grow in length, width and height.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 10-23-2007 at 07:23 PM.