Since I never had a 40 footer, is the bow thruster overkill then? I just imagine with that big a boat that the windage would be an issue.
As far a competitive boats, what boats can you recommend? We are looking to spend under $200k, we want the two cabin layout preferably with two heads and a equipped galley. Seating for 8 inside would be high on the list. But most importantly, sailing ease for two.
I don't want to start any wars (which is typical here) when someone expresses opinion about good or bad boat mfgs but will say there are lots of options available to you in addition to Beneteau that fit your type and age boat expressed previously and can be had within your price range. About the worst thing anyone can do is focus on one particular brand as each has their good and bad points. I won't comment further.
Regarding the thruster on a 40 ft boat, the vast majority don't have one which should be indicative of something. Any boat seems large until you get used to it so don't let that sway your decision.
Choosing between a thruster and furling main, if it comes to that, is a very personal choice. Both add convenience; the latter suffers from loss of performance sailing characteristic. Reefing a std main is pretty simple if set up properly.