With 5 posts, allow me to throw in a "Welcome to Sailnet". Having owned 2 Catalina 36s (divorce, long story) over the past 25 years I read with interest the many posts relating to coastal cruisers not being up for "bluewater" sailing. However, you really have to read these posts carefully and dissect what the original poster asked and what problem areas are related to that question. Most often, you read of someone who wants to sail away, for months at a time, crossing oceans, exploring the world, etc. To this sort of post you will read that coastal cruisers typically do not have sufficient tankage and are not constructed in such a way to be secure in all sea conditions. They are not talking so much about the hull, but more often about the WAY that things like tanks & cabinetry are secured within the boat. When considering open ocean sailing, you must be prepared to have your boat rolled. Will the water tanks stay where they are? Will the flexing of the hull dislodge the bulkheads which were merely tacked in place? However, I'm not hearing you ask that question. I'm hearing someone who enjoys sailing and racing on the bay, but MIGHT want to someday leave the bay and do some cruising. Most likely, that will mean a trip to Mexico or up to the PNW. I would categorically state that a modern Catalina of the size you are considering would be fine with that. My current 36 has been to Mexico with the prior owner and performed brilliantly I'm told. No less than 5 Catalina 42s were in the last Baha ha Ha rally to Mexico and Catalinas are almost always represented in the Transpac to Hawaii. Based on your timeframe of 5-10 years and the "maybes" involved with the wife, my suggestion would be to find the Catalina/Beneteau/Hunter that you and your family really like and sail it for the next 5-10 years. Take her under the bridge for some short trips. See how you like it. This kind of boat will have more interior livability and be easier to handle around the dock than a full keel "bluewater" boat will and you will enjoy it much more for the kind of sailing you do. Then, after 5-10 years with the wife onboard for cruising, after taking some coastal trips and after finding out if you really like it, you will KNOW the areas you want to improve for the kind of sailing you now want to do. Enjoy your new boat and let the future take care of itself.