The beauty of your plan is that you're already building in time to handle setting up the boat properly. You aren't expecting to just hop aboard and go. That gives you time to spread out the cost of repairs that will be needed for the boat. When you buy, you'll likely have an initial outlay for "stuff", even if it's just silly things like head deodorizer, teak oil, boat soap, etc. And you'll find that you need tools that you never needed before. But, after that initial buying spree, you can start to pace yourself and figure out what you truly need, and how soon you'll need it.
So far, it sounds like you are taking a reasonable, logical approach. Yeah, it would be great to have $200,000 to spend on the boat. You don't. So, you basically have 2 choices: give up completely, or modify your plans/expectations. Given that I'm a member here, I think you can figure out which side of that fence I come down on!
You say you want to sail away, but on your other thread, you mostly discuss coastal cruising and the Bahamas. As I understand it (I've never done it, so don't rely on me for this!), the trip to the Bahamas is a day sail from Miami if you have good weather. Sailing with 2 younger kids aboard means you're likely to only try to make that trip in good weather. Can you be content cruising around the US and the Bahamas? If so, you may not need the super-stout, super-big boat that you have in mind. Brian (Cruisingdad) lives aboard a 40' Catalina with his wife and 2 boys. With all due respect to Brian and Catalina, those boats are coastal cruising boats, not ocean crossers. But it meets his needs perfectly (or at least well enough to keep him and his family happy), and something like that might work for you as well. Heck, even something slightly smaller might work. Here are a few examples:
1984 Catalina 38 sailboat for sale in Florida
1984 Catalina 36 Tall Rig sailboat for sale in North Carolina
1985 Catalina 36 sailboat for sale in Virginia
1989 catalina sloop sailboat for sale in Florida
- yes, it's well above your price range, but she's been on the market for several months, and possibly longer. Never hurts to ask.
1983 Catalina Catalina 38 sailboat for sale in Maryland
So, are you only in if you can cross oceans, or do you want to spend a year or three (or more) building amazing memories while hopping down the coast, seeing the sights, and enjoying a lifestyle most of us wish we could pull off?
I know the owner of that C38 in Maryland (almost positive it is his boat). We became good friends while they were in Boot Key. Of interest to the OP, he had two boys on board (9 and 13). Now you know why we stayed in touch. They are good people and honest.
That boat will need some new sails and some other minor work, but it obviously will work with kids. He sailed it from CA, down the west coast, through the panama canal, S America, across the gulf to the keys, and up the east coast. It is a good sailing and handling boat.
Also, the C38 is a completely different boat than the Catalina 380. It is Catalina in name only. It is a Sparkman Stephens designed boat, the old Yankees. It was bought by Frank and he produced them under the Catalina name.
That boat would be a good choice for the you Awaywego. My biggest issue with it (and it is a big one) is the draft. That is a real problem down here. For example, the owner of that boat ran aground in the middle of the ICW while heading up to Maryland to sell it... and that was in FL where it is maintained. Personally, I would prefer a more shallow draft not exceeding 6, but preferably 5 or under. We have run aground many times (even in the ICW) at 6.
Your kids are a great age and easy to take cruising. The beauty of boats is that they are pretty kid proof as they come. They are young enough that they can be berthed in the same SR, even in the same bed. You will want to consider cabinetry and water. We honestly go through about 6-15g/day with the 4 of us. However, this often includes at least one, if not two showers. As Captforce mentioned, you will find ways to conserve water that work for you. But you can also carry some gerry cans and bottled water to help supplement. I would not get a watermaker to start off with. Many or most of the places you go will have water, and those that do not, you may not want to make it there anyways.
Another thing to look for is ventilation and how the kids will sleep. For example, we put our kids in the V berth where there is the most ventilation and we could put a divider across to split it in the middle and a "crib side" to lock them in. When they got older, we removed the crib side, but they still have the divider. Our think is to make sure everyone (even Fatty) has a 'place' that is theirs. Any boat gets small, so having a place where the kid (or parent) can escape to makes life much more enjoyable.
Whatever you do, get a boat that is comfortable. It will be your home, not a boat. Big difference. I keep saying it, but storage is critical. Look for deep bilges. You will put a lot of canned goods and water there... esp with kids. Opt to pay more for a well cared for boat over a cheaper boat that you can fix up. Fixer-uppers can cost more than if you had just bought the more expensive to begin with. See if you can get a boat loaded with cruising gear. That stuff is expensive (esp life rafts).
If you have any real questions on that boat (the C38) let me know. I have zero vested interest in that boat, just know the owners and like them a lot. They are honest people and good sailors.
I have lived owned: A C 250, C320, C380 (and cruised on it), and now a C400. Also part owner in a Tayana 42 Vancouver. I know most of the Catalina line pretty well, and am fairly knowledgeable in some others.
Anything kid related I am happy to help with. That is about all we have done. Currently in Boot Key (marathon) doing it Fulltime.