Wow, after reading this thread I feel both enlightened and confused -- confused as to what I've been enlightened about.
There is a message I get from the "new, awesome, fast fun, performance" clan that is depressing for me, because from them I realize all older boats are outmoded and pigs, and I need to spend something north of $100K and also get drunk at boat shows, neither of which are in my remit. So Paulo, for instance, what about some good used boats that are a good balance of factors, and under say $90K? I realize this may not be your interest, but can you indulge me?
Then there are those here who have a lot of experience with older boats and for instance the discussion of the Newport 41 and "CCA era boats with IOR rigs" is interesting. This is also because, as I consider boats to buy for a solo or short-handed Trans-Pacific voyage, in my budget, I investigated previous record-holding/young-person circumnavigating boats. I think you can find the S&S 34 (J. Sanders, D. Dicks, J. Martin, J. Watson: lately, "Ella's Pink Lady," 2010; thank you Australia!), Islander 36 (reinforced/modified "Intrepid") , Contessa 32 (etc.) in these record books, and recently. Because these groups did not have massive corporate/wealth sponsorship, I think the boats were chosen in part based on budget (a custom-built craft would have been too costly).
So, what exactly is the problem with these boats, compared to newer designs? What would have been a better choice within the budget I mentioned (cost is a big factor in the real world; I am asking for apples to apples here, not price-no-object theoretical comparisons)?
Of course, the boats I just mentioned are all older designs. Isn't the S&S 34 in some ways similar to the Newport 41? (Please enlighten me on similar/different design features?)
More info here (PDF, Patrick Matthiesen, 2003):
S&S 34 – A Classic Ocean Racer/Cruiser/Voyager
Okay so, are all these older boats 1) pigs/dogs/turtles, 2) incapable of sailing well a) upwind and/or b) in light wind, 3) bad at marinas, 4) not really more seaworthy than the new designs? 5) not easier to sail than newer designs solo/short-handed by say someone who cannot bench 200lbs. in a storm?
I am interested in purchasing a "balanced" boat, and one that is tough too. What do you think -- is there a "middle way"? Any recommendations?