I am amazed at the power of the internet. I just stumbled upon a post of mine from eight years ago while searching for the right boat. I didn't even remember my log in name haha. I never made it to New Zealand and bought a boat like planned but suchs is live. Being in Wyoming still, the boat for me at this time in my life was a Hobie 16 (don't laugh) and my friend and I taught ourselfs the hard way to sail on this unforgiving boat. Last winter we took it down to the Sea of Cortez and attemped to sail down the East coast of Baja. Lack of water and the large tidal range caused my first mate to jump ship and I couldn't single hand alone. The best sailing of the trip was in Mission bay, San Diego and we broke our speed record.
The Triton was the boat I almost bought before I got engaged and decided that the Pearson Vanguard is the boat for us and I am shopping now. Thanks so much for your responses. I am pumped that I came to the same conclusions Jeff on my own and I hope one day to be a "real" sailor.