HOW DEEP IT IS
Don''t have time for long list at the moment, but let''s address question one:
I really want to love a lot of what many modern cruisers appear to offer (lighter, (hopefully) advanced construction, low wetted surface, high hull speed, responsive bulb fin keel and spade rudder, walk-thru transom and swim platform, deck salon views, spacious cockpits, comfortable accomodations, etc.) But, I''m not yet experienced enough to know (for myself) how the inevitable trade-offs work out when cruising for half a year and encountering a variety of weather and other conditions.
In just the little bit of open ocean sailing we did in the Caribbean, I can tell you that going below in a seaway was treacherous in the 1999 Jeanneau 45.2 we had (no offense intended to any owners out there). The wide cabin and lack of effective handholds made it dangerous for my crew [but we''re not all old salts yet, either :-)] The blocks and deck organizers leading lines aft were not up to the task and added too much friction in their overstressed state.
I don''t want in-mast furling, based upon what I saw with other boats (ours used slugs in a track, thankfully). I don''t want a locker for the chain rode which fouls the chain consistently. I don''t want a cockpit with no secure place to stow sundry items (charts, binocs, etc.). I don''t want the engine control panel and instruments to be 3 inches off the cockpit sole (too easy to get flooded). I don''t want a bimini that impedes usage of the winches. I don''t want 3 heads on a 45 foot boat.
The list could be expanded and will be as I gain experience, but I''ll move on to question two:
The quick answer is NO, I do not know yet what boats fit that bill. I hope to be a lot smarter as time rolls on with the help of my fellow Internet sailors. I may wind up developing a long list of features that I want/don''t want in a boat and then fall in love with one that is very different.
Maybe the best solution for me is to find/develop a forward looking sonar that will warn me of a potential grounding in time to avoid a collision at 9 knots!
Sorry if I didn''t answer either question satisfactorily, but got to run.