I sailed a Santana 20 on Lake Washington once in choppy water, and took quite a beating. Last weekend my (admittedly pregnant) wife and I rented a J24 out of Orcas and sailed/motored around between there and Jones/Waldron. At one point a jackass in a powerboat (yes, really! ) blew past us and his wake jostled us a bit, enough that the Merc 5's prop came out of the water once and my wife kinda freaked at the motion
. Back in June we passengered on a daysail on a C&C 36, and powering back at night we had (guesstimate) 3' swells that she wasn't doing too well with, so the comfort factor is important to me
- especially when the baby starts coming along. I can join a club and maybe end up on 25' boats a lot of the time, but am concerned about how the comfort angle for the two of them, especially overnighting.
OK I've purused the thread quickly and see you've had plenty of advice so I won't repeat too much. But I will tell you a bit of my experience. Jackass powerboats...they are a fact of life, get use to them. Three foot swells, can and do happen in the Georgia Strait regularly. The longer you own a boat the greater your chances of venturing further are. You will get bored with the same water all the time and the sense of adventure will lure you out of Puget sound eventually. With experience comes confidence and it is only a matter of time before your confidence takes you out to the San Juans, then on up to the Canadian Gulf Islands and then on up to Desolation Sound, it is inevitable, accept it.
I sail the San Juans and Gulf Islands out of Point Roberts every summer and it is awsome scenic. My wife and I cruise in a 26' Macgregor and find it quite comfortable once we got used to the motion. The Mac is a corky boat but takes a lot of jostling in it's stride, we have even got caught in rip tides where we were tossed like a pair of jeans in an agitator wash tub. Rough seas happen, it goes with the sport, get over it and get use to it.
Cruising in a small boat is like camping, but you can stop at marinas for showers and supplies or just exploring. There is much to see outside the Puget Sound and it will always bekon you, resistance is futile, plan for it in your future. There are many small boats out there, it is a mecca, and always busy with other power boats ferries or commercial ships all of which create wakes, there are currents and rip tides too, but you will learn to deal with them, your wife too. Just get the boat and get out there, you'll see, it will be the best decision you ever made and you will never look back.