Theres something that the trail of this thread has left behind but as any person out there cruising knows well. maintence and the ability to do such is a major part in choosing the boat you plan on sailing.
Awhile back a good friend of mine said they should change the name from Cruising to "REPAIRING YOUR BOAT IN EXOTIC PORTS"
From the time we purchased our boat, some 4 or 5 years ago, we've replaced almost every piece of moving parts on the boat. understand the retro-fit was our choice as we brought a mid 80s vintage FIRST 42 up to newer standards.. and every part of the boat, I've done the repair or replacement myself. Not bragging, but stating a fact.. Parts break and if you want to cruise at a low cost, you have to do the repair yourself, so find a boat or size that you can manage by yourself.
As boat type, we chose a proven race design, the designs (when built) were state-of-the-art, The materials were the newest and strongest avalible. the hull was designed fast and strong and the rigging built to withstand the riggors of offshore racing for multiple days at a time. we will never as cruisers put the boat through half the load the racers would have put on it... Its strong, its fast, its comfortable, and sails like its running on tracks...
If your looking for a boat to cruise with.. take a good look at what people are using these days, and not what people are dreaming of..
The reality of it, people are using what they can, and they make it work.
Like the guy who sailed the hollowed out log from Panama to the South Pacific.. With a 5 gallon bucket of granola and a couple jugs of water!