Great question CD. I guess it boiled down to sturdy quality boat, that can take a punishing if it has too since I will be keeping the boat down in Miami during hurricane season. Also one that I can take bluewater, where the boat will take care of me in-case I do something crazy like cross the gulf stream. Moreover, it comes down to money and a limited budget since my fortune cookies haven't given me the right numbers for the lottery. Also, I do listen to you, and before I go down to look at the boats they all must have at least 4 BBQ on the rails. :>P
HEHEHE!! On a limited budget, you can get by with two BBQ's!
Re the Caliber, it is my favorite of the three with the exception that John said too. My exact thoughts. I feel it is a VERY undervalued boat. The aft stateroom lacks something to be desired (so would not work for us with kids), but that was not your focus anyways.
That is a great choice. I will also point you the the Tayana 42. Have you been on one? Of all the boats, we were most impressed with that one for liveablity and bluewater capacity. One of the nice features of the baot (non-center cockpit) is the ability to access the lazarette through a walk-through by pulling the stairs back. Very, very cool idea. You have "gobs" of room for storage... you will lose stuff. The aft cabin is better and the nav station is "ok". It is part of the main salon on that model, but plenty of room to put stuff.
Look at the Passports too. I think it is a better performing boat, but (no offense to anyone... my opinion only) not quite a sgood of a liveaboard. But if you enjoy some level of performance, you would apprecaite it.
I will tell you, from someone that has lived aboard, it is a whole other world. Buy a boat you are very comfortable on first and foremost. Put the blue water capabilities second. If you are not comfortable on her, you will never take her to blue water and never leave the dock. I know that sounds backwards but the boat has to be a good liveaboard. You have not put a couple of boats on there that I consider great blue water boats and bad liveaboards (I will not mention as I will get hate mail)... so that is good.
PS Aren't you sooooooo proud of me for not mentioning Catalina!!! HEHE!