I sail on a small trimaran for most of the time, but crew on a very wide range of other boats.
Nylon rode is nice because it does stretch significantly, and reduce or eliminate the "shock" loads that can occur with an all chain rode. An all chain rode is nice because you can anchor with less scope and it is far more chafe resistant, especially in areas with rock or coral heads. However, if you do use an all chain rode, you really need to have a fairly long nylon snubber, and use it. This gives you the shock absorbing properties of a nylon rode, while retaining the anti-chafe and short scope of an all-chain rode. All-chain rode can be difficult for many smaller cruising boats, as they are far heavier than a combination rode.
A good compromise is often 30-90' of chain and then the rest of the rode being nylon. But this may depend a lot on where you sail. Some areas have relatively deep anchorages, but not much coral—combination rodes make far more sense in those areas. In areas with a lot of coral and rock, an all-chain rode makes more sense.
The main problem with fin keel/spade rudders is that in the case of a grounding or very heavy seas, there is very little support or protection for the rudder. This is not to say that spade rudders aren't seaworthy, but a skeg obviously provides the rudder a lot more support and protection than it sticking out into the water on its own.
Many modern boats are far more beamy and designed to be more "floating condo" than sailboat in some ways. A coastal cruiser can afford the negatives of the changes in modern boat design, far better than a bluewater boat.
Large open spaces found in many newer designs are rather quite dangerous in heavy seas. Getting thrown across a salon that is six feet wide is less dangerous than getting thrown 10 feet. Most modern coastal cruisers don't have any berths that would be suitable for use on a longer, heavy weather open ocean passage. The roomy cabins that sell a boat at a boat show, don't make much sense on a bluewater passage.
One thing that I highly recommend that all boats carry, if they're going to go on longer open-water passages is a Jordan Series Drogue
. It is probably one of the best, and most cost-effective pieces of safety gear you can buy.
Hope this helps...