A Philoshopical Question
I currently have a Hunter 26, which I purchased last summer. I sail on a shallowish, large natural lake where winds can easily be in the 20+ mph range, though generally in the 10-15 range. Though I know the basics, my trimming is probably my weakest point. I can get to Point B from Point A, but not necessarily in the most profiecent manner. In part due to inexperience, but also because I''m not a slave to speed, per se.
At this point in time, I see myself mostly sailing the Tennesse river system in summer, then moving down to the Gulf Shore during the winter months. For this, a mast height of 50'' or under is necessary. I figure I can spend 4-5 yrs, just exploring these areas, and getting some experience with saltwater sailing (tides, currents, etc), of which I have none now. As well as navigation and weather related skills.
As this will also be my home, liveablity, is a definite consideration. I feel I can sacrifice some measure of performance and stoutness for comfort, as I will be able to come and go as the weather permits. Though I know..."the best laid plans...."
Right now, I feel drawn to the Hunter 320. I like the layout, it has the proper mast height, and think it would be fairly easy to solo on. Especially since I already have, and will have more, experience with the B&R rig they use. And though it certainly isn''t a "bluewater boat", I think with experience and not having any set schedule to keep, I could probably island hop the Caribbean.
Obviously, this could change with time. I''m mostly trying to be pragmatic about what I will actually use the boat for, yet, it''s hard to take the chance of not being able to do more. And though it might seem a bit premature to be worrying about it, you never know when something might just drop in your lap.
Hope this makes things a bit more focused.