.. I guess it all comes down to what your definition of a performance cruiser is. My definition is a boat that in normal conditions will meet or exceed hull speed while FULLY LOADED with cruising gear. ... Because if it is simply the fastest boat that you could cruise on, a First or J122 wouldn't even make the list. ...
So, what is cruising for you? TO me, cruising is Fulltime living aboard and travelling on a boat for year(s) at a time... and certainly not less than six months at a time. It is going to different places, anchoring out and adventuring. It is a combination of marinas, mooring fields, and sitting on the hook (with a fair amount of being on the hook). I do not feel that cruising is taking a weekend and sailing down to the next marina. THat is weekending. I do not feel cruising is taken several weeks or a couple of months to sail to a few different places and then returning to your house. That is vacationing. So that is my definition. Again, what is yours?
... Now Paulo mentioned this couple that is in the Antarctica on their First. Was that their boat of choice, or was it what they had and fit their price and them made do? I can certainlty think of a lot of better boats to go to ANtarctica with... I bet they can too. ALso, is it a stock boat? Doubtful. I suspect, like ALL cruising boats, they are loaded to the brim with clothes, pots and pans, gas tanks, diesel tanks, extra water jugs, solar panels, a generator, many weeks (we do over a month) of food stocks, etc. Now, when they are done with that boat, does it still look like and perform like a stock J or First? Heck no. We wouldn't expect it to. But now my question is: How fast is that boat really now? WHat is its true RM now with all that crap all over the deck and above the waterline? How long can they go without having to pump out... or do they dump in the bay? ....
Yes, that First 40.7 is their boat of choice and yes it is a fast boat and yes they travel light and yes, they are circumnavigating.
You insist in not understanding that other sailors can have an idea different of yours in what regards a cruising boat. Yes there are many sailors to whom sailing pleasure is a very important part of cruising.
What I think or not is irrelevant to the way other sailors like to cruise and the sailboat they chose according with that. Believe me like you I know very well the boat I want and you can be sure that is not the boat you would want and vice-verse. There is not a perfect cruising boat but many different types of cruising boats for cruisers with different tastes, even for circumnavigating.
You prefer to sail a relatively slow boat (by modern standards) full of stuff inside. Ok, that's your type of pleasure, your type of cruising but I am amazed at your incapacity to understand that some would prefer a slower and heavier boat (some would even prefer an heavy old design) but others will prefer a faster and more enjoyable boat to sail.
On the interesting sailboat we have been following the circumnavigation of Capado, a small and very light cruiser boat. The crew is a young couple, they are top sailors, much better than you or I and I am quite sure that was the boat they wanted. They have the hull made and finish the rest but for the money they spend on a new boat they would have enough money to buy a used 40ft Catalina.
I am quite sure if I would suggest such a boat to them they would laugh at me, the same way you would laugh if I had suggested such boat to you for doing a circumnavigation.
Here some pictures of their boat: