Re: Sensible Cruising
We took the minimalist approach with our first cruising boat, a Pacific Seacraft 37. It was safe, fun to sail, and I could handle it alone in all but really bad weather. It didn't have refrigeration, a genset, or a watermaker (no real space) yet carried enough food and water for the two of us for weeks. Perfect boat--for some people, and we've seen a good number of 37's out here--but just too small. The Pacific Seacraft 40 is barely enough to really live on, especially if you're not hanging out on small palm-fringed islands or in the water most of the time (I can't be in the sun--melanoma). It has all the goodies, but I can't handle the sails except in the calmest weather. I think the best answer is to ask yourself what you want to do and where you want to go. If the answer is, "Both high and low latitudes, water sports and (classical) concerts in the cities," you'll need more room for clothes (including warm weather shorts and cold weather sweaters), equipment, a cabin heater, refrigeration (or at least a truly competent icebox), more charts, more spares, etc. If you want to go to deserted islands you'll need to be prepared to fix everything yourself, and provide all the necessary parts. My experience (and we've cruised for 45 years and been away from the US for three years now, messing around in the South Pacific and repairing the boat in exotic locations) is that guys like spartan and the gals prefer a few more comforts. Interesting, though, how my dear hubby has borrowed my craft gear to repair electronics, plumbing, and even the gen set....
And oh yeah--here in New Zealand we've been awfully glad to have the Espar cabin heater.