Help save our marriage!!
Yep, I''m still here. We have been digesting all the excellent and greatly appreciated information from everyone. We have pretty much started over. The displacement/length issue really changes the landscape, leading us to consider longer (I no longer use the term larger) boats with medium displacements. This change in thinking has been welcome since the longer boats allow for more stowage, larger tanks, more livable space and should provide a more comfortable motion at sea.
Jack made reference to our crusiing plans. In short I will retire in 2 yrs - 4 months - 9 days (but who''s counting). We will both be in our early 50s and hope to cruise as long as our health allows. We intend to crusise the Bahamas, VIs, Hispaniola and Latin America. As most sailors do, we dream of the South Pacific & the Med, but we realize that will require a totally different boat.
One of the big issues we wrestle with is: exactly how much "sailing" will we actually be doing and how many multiple day runs will we be making? Will we be spending 90% of our time at anchor? If we will only be making 2-3 multi-day jumps -vs- numerous 4-5 day runs, how should this influence our choice.
To the issue of safety: this IS our number one concern and those issues go into all of our discussions. There will never be a compromise in this area.
Gear: NO = freezer, water maker, electric winches, propane
YES = SSB, refrig, pressurized water, GPS/Chartplotter, ORIGO stove/oven, autopilot, solar, wind gen.
MAYBE: water heater, small Honda genset, radar
Thanks again for all the excellent info!!