Agree for the most part. I certainly would not call this boat a racer. She does well. SHe regularly gets over hull speed (even us as loaded down cruisers). SHe is the most sure footed boat I have ever sailed. It is comfortable down below with a nice proportion of space and lots of teak, etc. But a racer? Nah. Not in my perception. My issue is that for what I consider a racer (and the Sabre does not fall into that either or the C&C), I would't cruise on it. Too narrow beam, too modest accomodations, I often don't like the way the cockpit lines are run, etc. It's a different animal. I guess some might consider cruising on a J122 or some of the Firsts, but I wouldn't. But those are my opinions, and i understand that others have a completely different view of what is ideal. But I will tell you this as a long time live aboard and cruiser, the boats I see being used the most (and live aboards for sure) are the Hunters, Benes, and Catalinas. It's not just because they are the most populous of boats, it is because the boats are COMFORTABLE. I often see the Valiants ready to go around the world and never leave the dock, or come back and the owners go off to their homes to stretch out. The Tayana 42 really is a pretty comfortable boat, but cripes that thing is slower than molasses. I think the C&C's are ok, but for our type of cruising, I think the C400 is the best. If I was going to trade up out of this boat and keep it under 300k, I would probably look at a Sabre. It would be pretty high on my list. But I have a LOT of the same issues with the Sabre as I do the Benehuntalinas. Over 300-500k, I would probably be looking hard at a HR (my wife's favorite) or a Hylas 54 (mine). Over 500k, I am not sure I would get a sailboat at all. I would probably get a Nordhavn, which I think are some of the finest vessels in the world. If I stuck to sail, it would likely be a Taswell (a boat I have spent some time on too).
But geez, if money is not an object, these boats are great to talk about. But I don't know a lot of people that have that kind of disposable income sitting around. Instead, with only a few exceptions, these boats are bought by people with well-paying jobs and they sit in a marina except for the weekends or they have to save most of their lives and cannot enjoy them until they are 6x/7x years old. I could do that, and almost did, actually. Now I am glad it didn't work out or I might still be in my f/t career wishing I could see my perfect yacht instead of being 41 YO, cruising with my kids, on a great boat that will go anywhere I want to (AND OUTRUNNING MOST OF YOU DOING IT!!!!)
Yes I think your boat is a perfect cruiser for a family. It has the large amount of room in the cabin areas, and cockpit which are necessary for a group of people to be comfortable. It reflects in how you chooose a vessel when you are looking to carry 5 people comdortably then if there are only 2 most of the time.
Thats probably where most of the difference is in what you and I view when we are looking at cruising boats. Multiple berthing areas as well as heads are something which is not necessary to start. Storage is much more important.
When you look at the Moodys, Masons, HRs thats one of the appartent difference IMHO. Ample tankage. Large areas to work on the engine etc.
Like you I love the Hylas, Taswell, Moodys and some of them are as affordable yet a little older than a Newer Catalina, Hunter, or Bene
Thats where you ave to decide whether the tradeoff is worth it. The Cat/ Hunter/ Benne designs are not what I look for as volume is not important to me. Nice rich teak and mahongany wood and joinery work, replace laminate.
The modern C&C and J122 is a great boat for 2, but probaly doesnt envison your crew of 5. They are more racers also as are some of the boats Paulo often mentioned. You Cat is more in the middle, a comfortable, quick cruiser which is built to accomadate a family. We havent even looked at boats like the Pacific Seacrafy and others similar which are bulletprooof for real long range cruising, but not built for straight line speed.
If I had a family and wanted to cruise comfortably and safely I probably would choose as you did. I admire you teaching them and taking them. They are getting quite and education. You are not the normal profile of a cruuiser though. Most are parties of two I think.
We are different and my kids are grown and not comming. I may represent more of what the majority of the cruisers look like. Thats why you may see such a disparity of vessels cruising and the same disparity in what people want in their vessel. It seems as though seakindness is the priooity as opposed to speed. Storage and tankage is important, Well made accessable systems are important. Weight seems to be important due to the areas you sail in. Sail configuations seems to be important as you need to be able to sail in the trades for long periods. Open space gives way to safe space both above and below deck. Safe gunwhales are a factor.
My question is if it was just you and your wife at 55 getting you final boat which you expected to last 25 years and you were going cruising, but not selling your land based home to live aboard, how would that affect what you buy and you had $250,000 total to spend. ( Maybe I should start a new thread)