Kent Island is on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, by Annapolis, MD. I have never been 2,000km out to sea on her. I'm not sure my loved ones would handle it anyway, but with the proper experience, equipment, and preparation, I in fully intend to taking her down to the keys in Florida.
What other boat at what money would you feel safe? In the ocean, they are all small boats.
While fairly new to sailing, (yes, I jumped in with both feet, but glad I did) I have been boating for over 35 years. I have an engineering background so I notice everything and I'm pretty particular about things. My worst experience is only a temporary grounding in 25mph winds, but this is probably due to some wise words that I read. "Trust your instincts. If your instinct says drop the sails, do it immediately without question. By the time the situation hits you, it's too late." As I sail alone often, better safe than sorry. I only dropped the sails once for the grounding, as the wind was blowing me into shallow water. With the big prop and powerful diesel, I was able to work my way out. I have sailed her in higher winds with the main reefed and thoroughly enjoyed the day. One thing I really like about mine is the 6' keel. It takes a lot to make her heel and the ride is wonderful.
She easily motors over 7 knots. I'm at 4 to 5 knots in lighter winds. No problem getting 7 knots+ in higher winds. We have 2 Hardins here at the marina, and we joke about how it's time to go out when they call for small craft warnings.
First, I have great luck with large purchases. I bought the boat in Baltimore, only a short trip away, at a fantastic price. The surveyor was very impressed. I know these boats inside and out and pre-surveyed it myself after 2 years of looking at several Hardins. I almost bought another Hardin previously, but my surveyor suggested that I walk off the boat. Always have a good surveyor, he saved me a lot of money and aggrevation. The $1000.00 cost for the surveyor was a $100,000.00 education. Follow him everywhere and observe.
My Hardin has had the teakectomy, and the inside is beautiful because of it. My decks are like a rock. I fact the whole boat is rock solid. One of the few boats to survive in the middle of Hurricane Katrina was a Hardin 45. I actually have not had to do a lot to the boat, at present. Someone had done a lot of work to her previously, replacing wood spars with aluminum spars, glassing the decks, and a new engine. I was surprised at how easily I could handle her around the marina under power. I thought I would need a bow thruster, but I can put her within an inch of anything by myself. This is of course in normal weather.
Before taking on an ocean going trip, I need to certify the rigging, add survival gear, recondition the fuel in the two 100 gallon tanks, install new radar, soda blast the bottom and apply fresh paint. I burn so little fuel, that if I used the big tanks, the fuel would probably go bad, so I installed a 9 gallon tank for cruising locally.
One big thing you want to do before taking her out in the oceans of the world is to make some shields for the big front windows. Some of the "Island Trader" Hardins have smaller front windows and a raised front cabin trunk. As that 1981 may have the original engine, I see that as the potential weak link, especially for what you are considering.
I could go on for hours so feel free to call me - my cell is 410-725-4377 warning I get lots of calls, always preface with an email and include your number so I can see if I missed your call.
I believe that most people that criticize these boat have never had one. She is major eye candy in the marina, people love her, salty as hell, and the best thing I ever did. I wish that I had discovered her 20 years ago.
My wife was giving me major grief about switching from power boating to buying the Hardin. After her first ride on the Hardin she said "Wow - I feel like I'm in a movie, but I can touch it."
Try it, you'll like it.