boat check - to Jeff H and others
You make some GREAT points, but IMO you need to look at both displacement and length together. a)what size boat meets your needs (lenght & beam, not diplacement) b) what displacement do you want for the size boat you have determined meets your needs). Example: if I have selected a 40'' w/ 12'' beam, I want 20,000+ displacemnet.
Interestingly, I am the same height and weight as you but I''m 61. I agree that handling the sail plan required to drive a 14k vs 20k boat will be much easier to handle. However, with the proper sized hardware and other items such as roller-furling, these differences can be minimalized. As to the issue of comfort: all things being equal, I would prefer the heavier boat (assuming proper design, etc).
Again, this is simply a matter of what each sailor looks for in a boat or more importantly, how the boat will be used. I''m a cruiser, although I think it would be more correct to call us wanderers. We have no time schedules to keep, if todays destinations was due North and a northerly is blowing, we simply head east, or west. We can always go there next year or the year after. We NEVER beat to weather, that is for those of you who DO have a schedule. I nice beam reach or run works better for us. If Aunt Mable wants to join us for a week, she has to come to us, we don''t go to her. I lost my watch 15 years ago and haven''t had time to purchase a new one.
I guess my point is this = If you intend to truely cruise, you need to approach your puchase from a totally different perspective than if you will be sailing weekends and during vacations. I''m sure Jeff and I agree, you must first define your true use (not your dreams) before you start looking.