low-budget performance passage-maker
Jack, you caught me. I probably am thinking about the voyaging more and not so much the time spent at the destination. So that''s a good point. On the other hand, my initial interest in a smart sailing boat that can get to a destination in light air as well as heavy was exactly because I had those "windless days and schedule" in mind...
Thanks, though, for keeping me on my toes. For example, from where does one deploy a stern anchor for a med moor in a boat like the J35 that doesn''t have any cockpit lockers or lazarette? It does make for something to puzzle over.
So on the general issue of modifications, almost any boat (certainly any that I can afford) is going to need some significant work in preparation for the planned voyage. My planning does (at least I''m trying to) take into account both the time and the money involved in the refitting, beyond the intitial purchase price of the boat. I know for example, that if I spend say $30K on a ~30 year old boat, I may well end up spending another $30K re-fitting it (but those expenditures would be somewhat spread out over time). But if I postpone my purchase a bit so I can save up to spend $60K on a ~20 year old boat is that boat not also going to still need signifiicant re-fitting (for the sake of argument, say $15K)?
As to what is modifiable and what isn''t, I see the hull form and sail plan as pretty difficult to change, so you have to get that right in choosing the boat. The deck layout or house structure, on the other hand, while not exactly easy, is still possible to change if needed (e.g. Dave Martin''s wholesale rebuild of his Cal pop-top, or the Roth''s cabin extension to their WHISPER). Interior arrangements, depending on the construction method (e.g. pan vs. built-up), and systems, are relatively easier still to change as necessary (assuming you''re willing to start cutting...the first step is often the hardest). Deck hardware can, of course, be moved and upgraded (assuming you''re willing to drill holes...).
Obviously the closer you can get to your ideal, the less modification will be necessary. But boats are compromises, and sometimes you have to make trade-offs to get something you really want (say, perhaps, the sailing performance of a J35) knowing that you''ll have to make significant changes to other aspects of the boat to make it more workable for your purpose.
Got to go teach a class...