I'm going to add a few things thinking this over a bit......At least what I would look for vs not! I'm going to use a catalina 27 as an example.
First off, with this boat, and a few others, there are probably 6 versions of the same hull if you will. Std draft vs shoal, Around here, std or deep will be better for the conditions you will find, usually sail a bit better too. We do not have the shallows that the folks on the east coast have to really worry about the extra foot or two of draft difference. You also have a bit better righting moment with a deeper keel than a shallow one generally speaking.
Tall vs std/short rig. For your age, lack of sailing experience, a std rig is typically 3' shorter, a bit less sail area. For a given rig, lets use a full main and 110 jib, a std rig can go about 5 mph higher in winds, say 15 for the tall vs 20 with a std before you need to reef the main or other higher wind issues occur! For someone like me with a crew that races, a tall rig! Tall rigs for our lighter winds will keep you sailing vs motoring. Your shoes, the shorter would probably be better overall.
Motors, My choice in order, Diesel inboard, gas inboard, outboard in a well, last, and I mean very last, reality I would prefer NOT to own, and outboard on the stern. Reason for an outboard on the stern, in the bigger waves we can get, the prop can literally be taken out of the water and freewheel. Yes, been there done that! To me this is a BIG safety issue. Hence why I would not buy one. BUT, if a boat like this was pu in my empty slip, I would go sailing! In my C27 initial example, they do not have OB's in Wells, BUT< the Tbirds Faster mentioned, do! As such, if my choice was a Tbird and a Cat25, I would prefer the Tbird. BUT< the C25 would probably win over, due to the MUCHO IMHO better interior options etc. This is not to say a Tbird is a bad boat. ALL boats have good and bad points, you have to weigh ea one. I like the diesel IB, this will cost you initially a boat buck/grand or two or three, but with fuel useage about half per hour. Ie a diesel moving you 5 knots, will use about 1/2 gal an hr, vs .8-1.2 for an Atomic 4, most common gas IB. OB's use more fuel generally speaking than an IB gas too. So sometimes better to spend a bit more for the IB diesel vs the IB gas vs the OB gas. The fuel usage, power to get thru bigger waves etc will pay off in the long run in fuel savings etc going with the diesel ib vs the gas options.
Some options you may or may not find on boats, such as roller furling on the jib, if you can get one with do so. Otherwise, adding it is easy, BUT, for boats the size you are going to get, this will cost you about a grand for the gear, a few bucks to get installed, and potentially making you current jib fit the track f the furler, another 300-600 or so dollars, so potentially a 2-3 boat buck cost! Better to spend a grand or so more for an equal equiped boat with a furler than one without!
Tiller vs wheel. I prefer tillers on smaller boats, you put the tiller up against the back stay, and your WHOLE cockpit is available for folks to sit around and talk etc. With smaller boats, like my C27 example, a wheel can take up 2 peoples places, instead of 6 sitting comfortably, you can now only do 4! But many like wheels, as it is like driving a car, a tiller you to a degree do everything backwards. Wheels also seem to handle power self steering mechanisms easier and better..... again. plus's and minus's to both, I'll still take the tiller over the wheel, even tho I could probably come up with more plus's for a wheel than a tiller!
I am sure others will come up with a why they prefer the opposite of me, thats fine. I am saying what are my preferred options, what I would pay more for, and no issues with saying my preferred prejudices too!
You may also find that some of the motor sailers like the Gulf 27 or 30, Rawson 30, Fisher xx's will work a bit better for you vs a true sailboat too. If you can find a Dana 24, they will probably have ALL the things you want in a small package, but be in the 30-60K range. If you can get your budget to 15-20K for the base boat, you will have MANY more options, like a Catalina 28mk2 or a C30, Hunter has some mid 80 27-30' boats that also have full amenities like you are asking for too.
There are some boats while good, may be a handfull from the performance standpoint, like C&C, some of the San Juans, Cal has a model 9.2, These are a bit more on the race/cruise side of things. and may be more than a handful for you. Some one like myself or "Faster" if we were 72 as you are, with our sailing experience, these boats I am thinking of would not be as much of an issue, but a beginner like you, a bit older, not as quick, strong etc was we were in our 20's, I notice at times 5 months shy of 50 not as quick as 20 something. one needs to keep this in mind too.
Get some lessons, talk to folks, get opinions on what they do or do not want and why, and try to find what might work for you. I would personaly prefer a 27-30' inboard diesel for what you want to do and go. TBirds and C25's will get you to where you want to go. I'm just saying what I would prefer, as I could sail the prefered boat in the larger crossings all but 1-2 days of any month, the smaller boats, this would be more in the 3-5 days I would not want to cross say the straight of Juan De Fuca or Georgia. Enjoy learning to sail etc!
She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!
Last edited by blt2ski; 06-13-2011 at 12:41 AM.