So for 15 years, I have been renting and sailing Cat 14-26ft sloops. I am most comfortable on a sloop and have done many many miles of close to shore and just over the horizon sailing.
I own my own Cat 22 as well, and have been working on her on small projects.
I now am at a point where I can financially step it up, and get a larger vessel that can sit in the water (my Cat is on a trailer, and there are always logistic issues getting her to the water). I have about 20k and about 10k to work on something new. I am not sure what I want, but my goals with it are to be able to get from San Diego to Hawaii or other South Pacific Islands.
Anyway, for that kind of coin, I wanted to get opinions on good ships that can make that commute. I am familiar with other costs: insurance, dock fees, taxes, fuel, constant maintenance....
What kind of ships do you recommend? Of course, I am more comfy on a sloop, but i am not afraid to learn any rig...
You might want to research some of the boats from this list: http://atomvoyages.com/articles/reference.html.
All 32 ft or less and you should be able to find nice examples of boats on that list that fit within your budget. I suspect most, if not all, will be sloops.
Re: Stepping up...
Lots and lots of options for you.:) The Contest/Conyplex boats (29-33ft) are super-stout, good looking, have tons of stowage, and are exceptionally well built. Excellent ones available w/in your budget. Bit rarer on the left coast. Not terribly fast, but comfortable.
Contest 31 - Pictures - a boat for sale
Any of the C&Cs or Cals could make the South Pacific trip. Good-sailing sloops. Another excellent value is Cal's cousin, the Ranger 33. Gary Mull design, impeccable manners, faster than it looks. Like the Cals, it was intended for coastal. But they are built well enough for longer crossings. The Ranger is narrower than modern boats, and many still have the Atomic 4 engine. Which some people love. Can be problematic in the tropics, tho.
1976 Ranger Ranger 33 sailboat for sale in California
Islander 34 and 36 are also good boats; they might want a little beefing up before going large, but that's what Zach Sunderland took around the world. You can find a good 36 for under $20k.
Last thought would be an older Beneteau First. The lineup from 30-37 ft has a racing history but also turned out to be capable offshore cruisers. Will likely have higher initial cost than the others: you might find a 305 near your price point, but the roomier & more comfortable 34-37 footers are north of $50k. Good boat for the sailor interested in zippy bay sailing and fast passages.
For any of these semi-coastal boats, tankage is going to be a major concern. You may want to shop with one eye towards where you will stow another 50 gallons of water. I'm not a fan of jerrys on the rail, but that's one way people deal with it. Also, what kind of self-steering will you be using, and how easy is that to arrange on each candidate. Good luck in your search!
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