There are many threads here on Sailnet. Most are just answering questions about this and that. Once in awhile there is the SUPER thread that never dies due to questions most sailors continue to have in there mind. This is one of those. One can re-read this thread over and over again and learn something new each time. As years go by ideas, theory's, and facts either change or are proven.
My two cents worth is what has been said here and on other forums. There are about 1,500-2,000 bluewater cruisers cruising the world at any given time Very small community. Most of them are in production boats of one sort or another, modified for the owners desire. I would even venture to say those cruisers in what some here would call true bluewater boats are in the vintage of 1980-1990 boat; either for affordability or/both bulewater characteristics. No prudent sailor would go out in seas and wind over 30 knots or 6' seas, in other words most cruisers are fair weather sailors. A descent skipper can sail anything in fair weather. According to stats, most cruisers sailing around the world encounter less than 5 days of true nasty storms during their entire cruise. With the advent of getting weather through SSB, weather routers and prudent planning, fair weather sailing is paramount.
So what does get important for the average cruiser out there. 90% of the time the cruisers in either at anchor, moored or docked. So comfort down below and above becomes paramount hence the new wide stern, open cockpit designs coming out of most production boats, and new interiors that resemble floating condos. Easy sailplans; roller furling mainsail and jib, German sheeting, power winches, strong autopilots, etc. Appealing to the female gender in features that some sailors cringe about gets more sailboats on the water and keeps the Captain happy. Keeps the sport/lifestyle alive.
Catalina 445, Hull #90