I'm glad to see that you are back, and that my offer to get you involved with the Pelagic sailing club has been followed up on!
RE your next boat: May I suggest a Shannon?
We went aboard a Shannon at a Fort Lauderdale Boat Show a couple years ago, and were very impressed with their quality.
But, from what we've found, they are rather expensive, and we didn't see any large enough to accomodate our liveaboard / chartering needs.
As much as many people can enjoy living aboard high 30 - mid 40 foot sailboats, after 11 years on a Gulfstar 50, we are really looking forward to a more spacious interior and deck space.
And, on the monetary issues, we want to be aboard a sailboat ASAP, instead of working for a couple of years to save up more hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we would rather not have a loan to pay.
So..... as much as we know there are better boats, we're sort of forced toward the Taiwanese boats, built in the 1980s, which at least offer the spaciousness we're looking forward to, and they generally have solid wood interiors which can be restored. As opposed to the veneered interiors which aren't worthy or able to be sanded and varnished to restore their interiors.
If on the other hand you know of a 50 + foot Shannon, for sale at a price well under $200K, (our upper limit is about $150K), we sure would be interested. Their interior quality clearly supports restoration, but, again, I haven't seen any 50 + footers. I am just not aware of that size Shannons existing....?
We are also focused on ketches! Are there any Shannons which are ketch rigged?
And, just to further complicate the issues, either a pilot house cockpit or center cockpit configuration is also high on our list of requirements, again, because these allow the interior space, (especially the aft cabin) to be "spacious", and they allow very good "from the cockpit" single handling of the rigging and line of sight steering, especially for a short guy like me....
All of this keeps bringing us back to the 1980s Taiwanese boats; but we sure are "open" to another brand which meets these requirements.
1. Spacious interior / pilot house or center cockpit
2. Price $150K or less
3. High quality wood work
4. Ketch rigged
5. Sweeping deck would also be welcomed, vs. those (like the Gulfstar) whose cabin tops sticks out from the deck.
Of course, we value a lot of other items like good engines with low hours with 120 HP or more, bow thruster, full keel(?), furling main / mizzen, at least 2 heads / room for a washer & dryer, stall shower, B&G equipment, auto helm, radar.... then such extravagances as forward seeing sonar, granite / marble counters :-) electric toilets, watermaker, generator, etc.
So, "shopping" for this, within our budget is challenging.