I enjoyed the mention of the HR40 above. I have sailed and lived on my HR40 Auspicious for four years (original layout) and was the delivery skipper for Pusteblume (classic layout) from Daytona Beach FL to the Annapolis Boat Show.
There have been implications in this thread that speed is not important in a cruising boat. I recall one other poster disagreed. Put me firmly in that camp. A little time trimming any boat to get an extra knot on passage is a big deal. From Annapolis to BVI (I leave Monday *grin*) that can take two days off the trip. As much as I like ocean sailing I'll take that time thank you.
In making speed the crew is more important than the boat. Certainly there are faster boats than the PSCs, but if the crew can't move the boat it doesn't make any difference.
I generally agree with Jeff's comments early in this thread but disagree with his conclusions. The boat you buy is not particularly relevant IF YOU DO ONE THING. Go racing on other people's boats. There is no faster way to learn than to race. The experience you have from your youth is a very good foundation and big boat racing experience will do nicely on top. There will you learn about backstay adjustment, halyard tension, leech cord adjustment, cunninghams, and jib car leads.
While you are racing and learning you might also want to do some chartering. Aside from the beauty and pleasure of the islands, you will learn a lot about what is important to you in a boat. It's a great way to recruit your family into the idea as well. Money well spent.
Also give some thought to joining one or more of the crewing services like sailopo.com or 7knots. It's a good way to get ocean passagemaking experience. I sail with sailopo (and have crew from them next week) and have only good things to say about them.
You may well still end up with a PSC (your boat has to speak to your heart - all the data is less important) but in the end you'll be able to move the boat effectively and be happy with your choice.
sail fast and eat well, dave
beware "cut and paste" sailors.
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