Try not to discourage me in your responses but here's my plan and I'd like input:
My wife and I are in our late twenties. I sart medical school in 2008, although from June 2007-August 2008 we will be sort of between things in our lives.
We would like to sell our house and most of our posessions in order to buy a relatively inexpensive sailboat (max 15k), in order to liveaboard and really learn how to sail during that year. I do have some experience sailing rhodes 19s on a small lake in Vermont and helping crew a friends boat around Martha's Vineyard, but all and all we are completely unsalted newbies though we've done a ton of reading.
Our plan is to move from Vermont to the Bay Area so here are my questions:
1) Boat suggestions-- We are looking for a boat that will suit our sailing needs now and later. This boat will be very simply designed, relatively small (nothing over 30') capable of offshore cruising (eventually once we have the experience and provisions and can properly outfit the boat), easily single handed by a man or woman, and a reasonable liveaboard for a year even if spartan (we lived in a 20' tipi in the Vermont through winter and are not afraid of roughing it). A head would be nice, or at least a little privacy while using the portapotty...
Some thoughts are as follows:
a) Westerly Centaur. Interior seems right about perfect for us. Not sure of its ocean going capabilities though generally speaking they seem to be good. I just read somewhere about stix ratings which I had never heard of before. Any thoughts?
b) Aleutka-- no standing headroom, I am 6'2. Still, I love the boat and I might just deal with it.
c) Flicka-- too expensive though
d) Folkboat-- maybe the interior is too small here, or at least too short...
Basically our thoughts on a perfect boat are well summed by Tom and Nan Mcnaughton on their website: http://www.macnaughtongroup.com/living.htm
2) What are thoughts on twin keels? I am a real DIY type of person so I like the idea of being able to beach our boat to get at the bottom. Can twin keels make good offshore cruising boats?
3) Also, I will be calling marinas in the Bay Area on Tuesday to see about getting on a waitlist, but I did notice that most applications require that the applicant already own the boat. Is there anyway around this, or do I need a title in hand before I can even begin looking for slip?
4) Oh did I mention we have a baby who will be one year old when we move aboard? Any thoughts here?
5) Positive flotation-- does the westsail have it? Can it be added?
I'd appreciate insights, thoughts, recommendations, refferences etc.