Maybe I could have titled this post "What size boat do I want?" or "Size considerations" but I couldn't resist the pun.
If you haven't read my first post then it will make more sense if I repeat myself here. I'm building a boat because that's what I want to do. Sailing has a little appeal, but not as much as building. I'm looking at a long long project here and am still very much in the planning stage. Right now I'm thinking in the 35-45 foot range, and I do know how large that is. I've got my eyes open and promise to listen to those who know more than I do.
Realistically, I'm never sailing around the world. Ever. My whole boating experience will probably be from the coast of North Carolina to the coast of Texas, with a remote possibility of going to Brazil or Bermuda if I really enjoy sailing. As shocking as it may sound, I would be happy with a well built boat that I sailed to the keys once. It's the journey of building the boat that will really fuel my interest. (ok, I have used the never, ever word before and proven myself wrong in the past, so take that part for what it's worth--very little)
What I hope to do here is get some ideas about how large a boat makes sense for me. Of course my ego wants to build a 75 foot schooner, but my wallet would be happier with a dinghy. My wife gets seasick, so bigger is better if it means more comfort, but I want to be able to sail it with two people, or one if necessary. I'm fairly athletic, so if it takes a little muscle or coordination I'm fine with that. In other words, it doesn't have to be easy, just possible to routinely sail by myself.
I want decent speed but a comfortable ride. I'm not interested in racing, but want to feel like I'm getting good performance out of my ride. Granted, coming from a guy who obviously knows little or nothing about performance that may sound funny, but I will understand it at some point and I don't want to be disappointed when I do. I don't need a souped-up camaro here, but I really don't want to feel like it's slow or unresponsive.
Although I may do some river sailing, that's not really appealing to me. I want to be on the ocean! I also want room on-board to take a couple bicycles for when I get somewhere (I LOVE riding), and I want room for tools. I will want some creature comforts of course, such as an on-board refrigerator and a small shower. Good electronics would be a matter of course, so would I need room for a generator or is that assumed? What about removable solar panels, are they something people use? It may sound silly, but I also want to be able to stand up inside.
I like a sailboat to look traditional too, nothing fancy and catamarans do nothing for me. I want a mainsail and a jib, maybe a spinnaker or staysail (they look cool), but nothing more than three big pieces of material pulling the boat. One mast, any more will make it too difficult to sail, IMHO. As far as keel design, I couldn't care less because you never see it. I don't know what sort of draft I need. Stability is nice, so is being able to get where you want to go.
Although I'm realistic and know this won't be cheap, cost is ALWAYS a consideration. I've noticed that where rigging, electronics, etc... are concerned there seem to be several "jumps" in cost. I would like to be closer to the top of such a step than the bottom, because if I'm building it then the cost of materials to just increase the size is probably comparatively marginal. (basically, if you have a big jump at 15 feet because of rigging considerations, I want to be at the 14 foot mark)
I know that's a lot to talk about packed into one post, and I'm not looking for everything to be answered yet. What I'm particularly interested in is knowing if I've missed any vital questions I need to ask myself before I make my final selection.
Thanks in advance, I really look forward to reading your responses!