What to look for in a cruising catamaran
I know I will get some bad comments on this one, but here goes. I am new to sailing, other than very small daysailers many years ago. I would like any constructive input on purchasing a cruising cat in the 40-50 foot range. I plan to head from the Chesapeake to Florida through the ICW with occasional offshore (once I figure out which sections of each are best avoided). I will eventually wind up in the Caribbean, likely taking the route down the Bahamas and T&C sometime in late fall of next year. Planning to spend 1-2 years as full live aboard and will either keep boat or place into charter service and use it 5-6 weeks per year thereafter. So... My questions - Any particular brand that seems to have more space? - I have a wife and 7 and 13 year old kids, plus the inevitable new best friends that come with the boat. How much will the weight of living aboard (watermaker likely, genset, A/C??) affect performance? Is there sufficient space below to store bikes, kayak and minimal scuba gear? Prefer the models with a semi-flybridge or at least raised helm. I am looking at either a new or nearly new, possibly Lagoon, Leopard or similar. Yes, somewhat spoiled, but definitely ready to ditch the fast pace for a while. Any thoughts, questions or comments appreciated.