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Need advice on boat size/displacement, please
I will be buying a boat for coastal sailing (not blue water) in British Columbia--sailing Strait of Georgia, Gulf Islands, etc. year round. I will be doing alot of single handing. While I am mainly considering a 32 foot Ericson or Aloha, I have been encouraged by brokers to also consider slightly smaller boats, like 28 - 29 foot. They suggest that smaller boats would be less expensive, cheaper moorage and easier to maneuver into slips while single handing.
While I can see those advantages, I do not want to skimp on space (for those times when my wife or a friend will accompany me for a weekend or so--therefore also need a quarter berth and head), but am more concerned that a smaller, lighter boat wouldn't be able to handle winds/weather as well or "punch" through the waves/chop as a heavier boat. My checking so far shows that most of the 28 - 30 foot boats that I would consider are about 6800 lbs. displacement, and the 32 - 33 foot boats are around 10,000 lbs. As performance/speed is also important to me, I am only considering cruiser/racers, not heavier boats like Pacific Seacraft, Alberg, etc. which I think are too slow in lighter winds.
So my question, what would you consider the minimum reasonable displacement for a coastal cruising sailboat in a broad range of sailing conditions--winds can be very light in the protected Gulf islands, but stronger in the Strait of Georgia, though I likely would not be sailing in more than about 30 knots of wind, or waves above about 6 ft. I know there are always exceptions, but I am looking for your thoughts on whether I am being overly restrictive by focusing on 32 - 33 foot, 10,000 lb. boats, and maybe overlooking the possibility of a good 28 - 30 foot, 6800 lb. boat.
Although I have sailed for about 12 years, most of this has been on interior lakes, and my coastal sailing has been limited to 34 foot boat charters for a week at a time. As I am far from the coast, I don't have the opportunity to test this out myself, and when I do charter on the coast, my wife is along, and I don't want to take her out in more challenging conditions just yet.
Thanks for any thoughts/advice on this.