That is a very good point, lots of merit to that argument, no doubt... Offshore sailors/cruisers tend to be more conservative and harder to convince, no question...
That First 45 is a beautifully executed boat, perhaps it will become a preferred passagemaker of the future... Still, I see some things I wonder about...
Pretty striking how difficult it is to find one pictured with a dodger, for one... There is not even a coaming built into the deckhouse to accommodate the fitting of one... With all those lines run aft along the coachroof back into the cockpit, it's gonna be a bit of a chore to fit a dodger that has much in the way of watertight integrity...
Bottom line, however, is the base price of that boat, roughly $450K USD... When I start poking around Yachtworld, and see what one could have for that kind of money in an older boat from a builder like Morris, Alden, Sweden, etc - well, seems like a no-brainer, to me...
Most photos you find on the boat are promotional photos from Benetau. They don't feature a dodger because the boat looks sexier without one.
A dodger is available as an optional equipment in that boat as in the vast majority of boats. Cruisers use them almost always. Here you have two different ones with the boat dodger:
Regarding prices here you have a 2007 First 50 from 2007 for 270 000 euros:
BENETEAU FIRST 50 S - Ano : 2007 - EYB
and a 2008 First 45 for 244 163 USD
2008 Beneteau First 45 Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Regarding comparing prices of 5 year old boats with the prices of 20 or 30 year old boats, luxury or not, you can only be kidding.
If my prop ever comes remotely close to coming out of the water, I've got far bigger problems than my prop coming out of the water...
Some times you talk about the superior performance of a given sailing boat as a decisive factor in the choice of a boat and regarding that a propeller near the surface is also a bad choice. Many years ago, sailing not in dangerous weather but on a very uncomfortable one (left overs of a storm, big short steep waves, no wind, strong current against the wave direction) trying to comply with the request of a friend to arrive at Port in time for him not to miss a train, I just blew out the engine probably because the engine was sucking air on the cooling system. I should not have insisted but I was young and foolish
Also long time ago I had a friend with a big steel boat that only give pleasure sailing with high winds and we used to go out in force 9/10 for having fun. I remember sailing at 12K on that big heavy boat and the image of passing fast 20m fishing boats, that were bouncing around sometimes with the propeller out of the water, is one that I would never forget. His boat, like mine, was on a very busy fishing port and he had quite a reputation as a sailor among fishermen and they don't have normally a lot of respect for pleasure sailors
Anyway a lot of sailboats have a shaft propeller system almost as down as the one of a saildrive and that would not be a motive of concern and even with one nearer the surface as yours, well, you would only have to take that into consideration, it has disadvantages, but as you say, also advantages.
Regarding that do you know this system? Not really expensive as a safety item. I am considering having one:
... Needless to say, best not get me started on the proliferation of these freakin' Dock n' Go training wheel setups for people who can't handle a boat, but have more money than they know what to do with... (grin)
Modern 50 ft are very easy to sail and are rigged to be sailed by two people and offer an added security in what concerns sailing offshore, offering a more stable platform than a smaller boat. There is also needed a bigger breaking wave to capsize them. What prevented the use of those boats by a couple in what regards autonomy was the difficulty to dock the boat on a marina, in and out. Those joystick systems made just that not only possible but easy.
Of course, as all systems they can fail and the more complicated even more but we ride on very complicated cars, fully of electronic controls and not on old very basic ones and their reliability is very high.
No, that's only a 13" prop, and my engine is a 29 HP Perkins Perama, it's a pretty good match...
That was also the engine power I had on the Bavaria 36 that had a two blade autoprop. I guess both were recommended by autoprop technicians so probably it is to due to your boat being considerably heavier.
Have a nice year, "bom vento" (as we say) to you.