Starting with a clean slate
The longer I look for the boat the more I realize that it all boils down to a series of compromises. I think that I have gotten to the point that I know what I want, and am looking for input and recommendations. Here's the short list:
Need a boat that I can single hand if necessary, usually it will be crewed by me and my wife. (We sailed a Cal-27 for a few years.) We live in Florida and plan to sail in that area as well as the Bahamas (Now) and eventually the Caribbean and Central America. (15 year plan)
We like to entertain guests, watch sunsets and generally just be on the water. No interest in racing, however, would like to be able to make decent time on a passage. I have no visions of ever crossing the Atlantic, or Pacific but would like a boat that was capable if we decided, way down the road, if we wanted to. I would also like the peace of mind of a boat that could handle the blue waters.
I am leaning towards a centerboard or, if fixed, a maximum of 4'6" draft. Neither of us like the look and feel of the newer boats - Hunter, Ben's, Catalina's, etc. Each time I look around I keep coming back to an Island Packet, Tartan 37C or possibly an Allied - all in the 36-39' range. Realistically, am I looking at two different boats, one for the next 10-15 years and one for extended cruising after retirement or would one of these boats, or others do the job?
Thanks for your input.