Newbies buying 1st sailboat
In favor of saildrive is the fact that the performance is generally better, and the maneuverability is a LOT better. Much easier to get in and out of the slip, something that may be surprizingly difficult when moving from power yachts to sailboats.
Also, it is generally a good idea to haul a boat out every year or every other year anyway and I''d bet most people do this anyway, even when cruising in faraway places.
Saildrives seem to be more and more common, with even some of the most respected builders of offshore boats using them.
So, again, most boats will work. All boats have things one person will love and another will hate, even when both are experienced sailors.
My advice is: Don''t buy a boat because someone else told you it''s the only choice; choose one that YOU like. Within reason, you will find that it will work for you and you''ll have a great time.
My own boat has a saildrive and a European style linear galley. Although you''ll find that a lot of people on this board will probably criticize that as not appropriate for offshore sailing, some of the most respected instructors I''ve met with thousands of open ocean miles feel it is a boat they''ll have no problem taking offshore. This galley organization opens up space for a beautiful navigation station and great access to the quarter berth, in contrast to many other boats where you have to shoo the cook out of the galley before you can access the cabin.
There are always compromizes. IMHO (not haveing done it yet but being in the process), the most important part of making a boat offshore ready is in the preparation. Even the most "offshore design" is completely unprepared right out of the factory.
In your case, not planning offshore work as primary purpose, choose the boat you like; it will be the right one!