I am starting to see a trend in the replies though- and it is shaping some thoughts in my head. It seems that the idea (and I agree) is that I need to get on the water. So, there are plenty of small trailer able weekenders in the local area that are ready to sail. (or for the most part) and would require minimal investment to launch. I can afford both worlds- buy a 1500k daysailer, spend time on it learning the intricate art of trimming sails and such. Keep the Beachcat for when the wind is to light for anything. Find the Triton or Bristol I want- put it in the building I am constructing behind the house and restore it. In the end, all can be sold except what I choose to keep.
What are the benefits of swapping an Atomic four for an equivalent size diesel? Fuel economy?
I think you got it pretty well worked out. Another option is to put about 15,000 to 20,000 into a Catalina 27 or 30 or similar coastal boat and just do a lot of sailing. If you want a different boat after a couple of years you can sell a popular boat for what you paid for it.
The reason those in the know are not encouraging you to to buy a boat to restore is that restoring a old boat is either one of two possible projects. It is either an all consuming job where you don't have time for anything else for two or three years. Or it is a significant job that you stretch out for 5 to 10 years. Many people have done it both ways.
Based on what you have said your main goal is to sail.
Restoring an old boat is a worthwhile endeavor but is always a bigger job than a first timer figures.
Here is the math if you are a first timer no matter your experience with cars, houses etc.:
Figure the most amount of time you could possibly imagine everything taking for your proposed project. Let's say 100 days, a little more that three months. Now multiply that number by 3 so you have 300 days.
Now figure the minimum you will work on the boat per month. Lets say you are not going to do 20 days a month which would be full time but you are sure you could put in half time hours. so 10 days per month. Take that number and divide in half or 5 days.
Now divide to find out how many months the job will take. In this case 60 months or 5 years.
I will start another thread with the above calculations so you can see if others agree with my numbers.