Since this is where the big boys play, I thought I should throw in the idea of purchasing the smallest boat you can and still fulfill MOST of your needs. Lin and Larry Pardey subscribe to this thoery and they've logged more offshore miles sailing than most of us know are offshore. Their logic, which I find compelling, is that the larger the boat you have, the more you have to maintain and the greater the cost for the items involved in that maintenance. For instance, I'll be painting my boat's bottom next week. I used that as an excuse to buy a pressure washer. I'll be out of pocket $500, including the pressure washer. Some of the big boys spend that on the bottom paint alone.
As the Dog mentioned, you can save a lot of money with sweat equity. I believe tjk was making the same point. Again, a project on a larger boat requires a lot more sweat than on a smaller boat. My boat yard is my driveway. I can accomplish projects on the boat in a reasonable amount of time, while still having a 'life', and not ever feeling like the boat owns me. Of course, I never get the boat in the water on time, I'm always finishing up one last little thing. But, at least, I'm doing all those little things. Confronting a bottom job on a 36 footer is a lot more daunting than on my 21 footer. You're a lot more likely to do it yourself if an end is in sight. For me, the option of paying someone else is difficult. I have other financial responsibilities and it just goes against my Dutch to pay somebody for something I can do myself.
If you think you need a big boat to go out on the ocean, you haven't educated yourself enough on boat design. For instance, my dream boat is a 20' Flicka, a foot less LOA than what I currently own. That's the only thing that will be less I might add.
My advise is, think small. Ever notice how all the little boats are out sailing, while the big boats are sitting tied up? Their owners are probably out putting in overtime to pay for that bottom job on the boat they ain't sailin'
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.