welcome to sailnet.
I disagree about a diesel engine being safer.A gas engine is very safe if the basic safety rules are followed.Everyone thinks nothing of using propane on a boat for cooking and everyone (well almost) has gasoline on their boats to power the outboard.
If you are planning to cruise in the Islands gas is easier to aquire than diesel there is always a gas station in most small communities.
A comfortable boat for cruising that is very sturdy is the Tartan 27 .My husband and I lived in one for 2 years plus a small dog.
Hope this helps you somewhat