Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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A Philoshopical Question
I also just went through this dilemma a year or so ago myself. I began by realizing that most of my sailing, whether distance voyaging or in my own back yard, would still be coastal sailing. Coastal sailing puts its own special demands on on a boat such as good windward performance, the ability to quickly switch from light to heavy air mode, comfortably long cockpit for lounging, good ventilation, etc. Offshore boats have a very different set of requirements that often make them miserable boats for the kind of short hops that many of us like to take.
Coastal cruisers do not necessarily mean less ability to fight it out with a storm. In fact they are often better engineered and equipped to better deal with quick changes in weather.
As I wrestled with this issue I began to look at boats that had both good coastal cruising characteristics and which had notable offshore records. In my case I chose a Farr 11.6 (Farr 38) but boats like John''s Hood designed Wauquez 38, Dehler Optima, or a Sabre 38 would also be other good examples of good dual purpose boats.
Given your goals, and assuming that you have good sailing skills, I don''t think you really would want to go to either extreme.