Join Date: May 2005
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I would say a Bimini is reasonable on a boat that age, but new sails........hmmmmmm..........In fact, the new sails, i would go with fasters thoughts, reasonably new but not worn out, so that you can choose the type of sail. I personally prefer laminates, but a lot prefer dacron sails. So my buying a 20 yr old boat with original dacs, no big deal to me.
A less than 30'ish foot boat with a wheel takes up a lot of cockpit space. My Jeanneau Arcadia, a 30' boat from the mid 80's has a tiller, the only one of 5 in puget sound with a tiller. The others with wheels are a bit cramped. I can take my tiller, raise it up, and tie to the back stay, and have that much more room for folks to sit at the dock etc.
Beneateau has some First series boats that might fit your price range. A bit slower than a J, but per your Ambiance wants, can be nicer to equal with a J boat. Jeanneau has the sunfast series, also a racer cruiser to cruiser racer end of things. the Sun Odysys is more cruiser oriented, same hulls, but the SF version will be a taller mast, deeper keel more SA etc.
Anyway, There is not a right or wrong here, just what you think will work for you. Also 6' of headroom in a 27-30' boat, while doable, it will be 6' to 6'1" at best in most cases. My Arcadia goes from 6' at the bottom of the steps, to 5.5' at the front of the cabin. Wife stands up all around, I'm ducking, my twin 5'16" sons are ducking everywhere!
She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!