1st Good Luck Labatt! Bigger balls than me - I wouldn't plan 1-2 years at sea with my family.
2nd - Deep keels, Righting moment and pointing capabilities.
I'm an "ultralight sailor" I have a 12M 3500 lb sailboat (a Screamer) and there were two keel options, and I have a third, custom designed keel.
As I blast past full keeled and deep keeled boats I always think about how paradigms cause design, but ultimately everything is a series of compromises. My boat has about 24" of freeboard, no "down below" and thats how it saved weight.
Now of cruising boats and keels and pointing - as a guy who's raced A LOT one thing I notice when I get on an average cruising boat is that forestay tension is not what it should be, the streamstay/rollerfurler track tends to curve off dramatically to leward when sailing close hauled.
This causes several problems:
the boat won't point as well
the boat won't sail a straight course (tends to crab-off to leward more)
its DAMN SLOW
Now couple that with the fact that most people believe that more jib is better (which isn't true upwind) and you get poor upwind performance compared to "optimal" i.e. these points were addressed.
What am I saying? before you worry how 12" of keel will help you perform up wind, explore the variables that you can more easily control, jib size, forestay tension (if you can, if you can't you should make it so you can!) and see how that works - you're gonna surprise yourself
PS - I run a full main and self tacking 85% Blade in 12 knots apparent and see 10 knots (planing) COG on a close reach (50 degrees apparent wind angle) - yes I need apparent due to speed vs wind speed ratios