Finally, I'm ready to buy my first big boat. Boat I'm looking for is a conservative design in fiberglass, 30-36' long (ideal range 32-35'), 12,000 to 15,000 lbs. displacement, draft of 6' max. Built by a reputable yard, in good condition (not a project) and coming with good essential gear. My priority is safety at sea, good motion while under way, and the ability to control the boat in all conditions by a crew of 2. Things I'm looking for are smaller cockpit, high bridge deck, encapsulated keel, keel stepped mast, tiller steering (preferred, but not a must have), good access to engine (and a good engine), preferably with wind vane already installed, good ground tackle with windlass. Prefer simple, reliable setup (KISS principle rules). Boat will be sailed short handed and possibly single handed at times. Something like a Cape Dory 33, Contest 33, Nicholson 35, Morgan 32, Bristol 34 or 35 (not a centerboard model). Looking for a boat on the East Coast, maybe on Great Lakes too if it is a good find. Budget for the boat: $30,000 plus another $15,000 for required upgrades. I have worked on sailboats for many years so I'm not afraid of tackling most repairs, upgrades and routine maintenance.
I have owned boats and sailed most of my life, but these were all smaller, simple boats, up to 22' only with outboard motors. I camped on these boats for 1-2 weeks at a time, sailing mostly on Pamlico sound in NC. I crewed on bigger boats, but done short passages only (longest one was 6 days with 3 days off-shore). Next year in spring (May) I'm taking a 3 year sabbatical from work to taste the life of extended cruising. I'm planning to buy the boat by the end of this year or in early 2018. I realize I have a LOT to learn but I'm planning to take it slow and steady. Initially I will sail along the East Coast and later going further south and hopefully eventually crossing Atlantic at the right time of the year to cruise the Med. Low budget cruising, that is, out of sheer necessity ("...we were poor, but we didn't notice")
If you happen to know someone selling such a boat or share your experiences in that regard, please let me know.
As always, your input is greatly appreciated.