So I suppose it will mostly be a balance of living space vs. maintenance costs. Can anyone comment on how suitable a 30-35 foot boat would be for a young guy and his girlfriend (who will have her own place but will definitely be over lots) to live on? Oh ya I have cats too.
This is probably a hard question to answer, but I am optimistic about the amount of boat ownership experience in this forum: Can anyone provide a ballpark, dollar estimate of annual maintenance costs for fiberglass boats in the 30, 35 and 40ft ranges?
Only a fool would sell everything, quit work, and go sailing...but some of us fools are having a great time!!!
You are getting good advice here, go small, go quality, and get a boat that does not need any work.
Ok about that part about a boat not needing any work....that is never the case. Even if you got a brand new boat it will need lots of work. A brand new boat that has just been outfitted and commissioned will need work. All boats need work, all the time!
Ok it isn't quite that bad but you will be living on this boat, working on a boat and living on it is not the best situation, do able but you want to keep the big projects to a minimum.
So get a boat that is newer or in very good shape.
As for size, we got a 32' and have lots of room for us and we could handle a cat, I would prefer a dog but no need to go there at this time.
The only thing I would have liked is a shower. Some of the marinas we have stayed at (and very few anchorages) have had showers, at least nice showers I like to use.
Buy a coastal cruiser that can do oceans rather than a passage maker that can coastal cruise. It takes a while to get comfortable with the boat and set up for passages, maybe years so buy a boat for now. Trading up later will always be an option.