Thanks very much for the reply. No worries ever about offering your view in my direction, you clearly have the backround that deserves respect.
A tiller is fine for me, was just curious if it was the kind of thing that could be easily changed, or if it was more a buy it the way you want it thing.
I am first to admit that I am more or less all over the map at the moment, which was the main gist of the thread. The Pacific Seacrafts are lovely boats, in form and function, and as such I figured alternate boats of consideration to those that like them might appeal to me also. I'd love to hear some of your suggestions as well, meeting the criteria you have layed out.
Our needs presently are rather difficult to quantify because my family's situation is in flux. Our home is for sale, and we are looking to relocate to FL (for better sailing grounds!!). Probably Gulf coast, and hopefully with a slip. Nothing is definite though. I am admittedly in the very early stages of research, and learning exactly what kind of boat best meets our needs.
Thus far, this is what I have determined.
LOA is the first consideration. 28-31' is probably optimal, since it is large enough for offshore cruising, but hopefully small enough to be affordable, both in initial purchase and maintenance, slippage, storage, insurance, and TAXES.. I confess to looking at 34's a little too much, and probably naively think I could bend it to my will, but recognize it is likely too big a step as a first cruiser. I do have a couple of teenagers though.
Older boats (randomly...before 1994 or so) worry me a little only because thru reading and such, they seem to need new just about everything. There are always exceptions of course of folks who keep their boats just so, but on balance, many many of the older boats just do not look well cared for. I do like nice things, and take good care of everything.
As far as learning to sail well, I truly don't know what to think. That is the one part I probably feel the most confident in (again, probably naively!). While clearly not big boat experience, the time as young person spent on the Laser doing everything imaginable to purposely screw up (we were kinda wild) makes me feel the actual sailing is my strongest suit. Now bigger sails make bigger problems, as does a jib getting hung up up there, but the mechanics of sailing itself don't change too much do they? Feel free to disagree!
The type of keel and draft might be next, as well as overall displacement. While as kid the wild speed and excitement was the attraction, a somewhat slower less active hull would be my preference now (I think..).
The rig itself I suppose I really don't know. But Sloop or Cutter for sure. I dig the cutters, the addition of the staysail seems very appealing from a fun perspective. And if it is more than one cares to jostle with, can't one simply run a larger genoa and have it act like a sloop anyway? Forgive me if that is massively naive.., as I really don't have a clue. I like the idea of using the staysail as a storm jib, and having a somewhat shorter main to deal with in strong air, or even just generally. It bears mentioning, I have never been on a cutter...but I'd gladly go if someone is offering! (I'll bring the beer!)
and much more..