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Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats
The biggest difference between boats of those eras is going to be the hull design, rig configuration, and interior layout. Those are the aspects that I would consider first because they will affect your sailing and life aboard day in and day out.
Remember that what you are seeing in the interiors you like on the 90s boats is a product of the wider hulls, higher coachroofs, and flatter bottoms. There is always a tradeoff in boat design.
What kind of rig would you be comfortable handling? A 70's era cutter with the sail area split 50/50 for and aft or an early 90s masthead sloop with a blade main and big headsails? What are the winds like where you sail? Will you be singlehanding or always have crew?
Think about the underbody and displacement. You may think you want a heavy, full keel boat for your eventual goal of world cruising, but will you be miserable coastal cruising the next few years with a boat that is a bear to get going in light air? Do you like the look of long overhangs on older boats or is it more important to have the speed the long waterline length of newer boats will deliver?
Look at measures like sail area to displacement ratio, displacement to length, capsize screening, and Brewer's motion to comfort ratio.
Find the layouts you want and the rig you are comfortable handling and narrow down from there. If you aren't happy with how the boat performs and aren't comfortable sailing and living on it, you will never cast off those docklines and head out to sea!
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