re: First boat: Cal 2-27, Pearson 28 or Islander 28?
Actually, I'm not going into the electric project completely unprepared. I've been reading all I can about it the past month or so, including the wealth of information on electricboat yahoo group. The reason is I've been looking at another motorless boat back then. There're a few boats very similar to the Cal that have been converted, so there's some data available. Anyhow, from all I've read, it should be possible to put together a system that would push the boat at 5 knots for an hour or two, or 4-5 hours at 4 knots, or 4 knots on a portable generator as long as the gas lasts. Total cost should be under $5K, which would make it half of a diesel repower. I realize I'll loose at least half of that investment if/when I sell the boat, but considering the screaming deal I'm getting on the boat, it might still be worth it. Besides, it's a fun project, much more so than trying to hunt down out-of-production parts for an old diesel at the end of his rope. I know there're drawbacks to it, I think I can live with them, given that I don't see any long cruses in the next few years at least, but only time will tell.
I don't know how you can consider a keel boat a dinghy, and I don't think that's what was being suggested earlier. FWIW, I did ASA101 on Merit 25 and Cal 24. Didn't like the Merit much, it just felt too twitchy, Cal felt a bit more solid. They both were easy to handle though, but not nearly as much feedback as a 14' real dinghy I tried a bit earlier. I'm hoping 27' won't be too far away from those two, but we'll see...
Pics, yes, I need to snap a few. My wife's been waiting for them as well (she's far away and can't go visit the boat with me). I've been to see the boat twice now but got so excited both times that completely forgot about the camera. I'm waiting for the seller to straighten out all the paperwork, after that a survey needs to be arranged. Hopefully it won't take more than a couple of weeks. I'll try not to forget to snap a few next time I'm there.