Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?
The Cape Dory 26 on ebay looks excellent. I agree with the owner regarding the outboard. Honda outboards are great. However, you won't get the range of a diesel, or the battery charge. And you've got gasoline right next to your hot engine...yikes!
The Carl Albert Designed Cape Dory is an excellent boat...extremely rugged, built to take anything, and beautifully finished. The full keel design is meant for the ocean.
HOWEVER...this is a pretty small boat for that kind of money. For example, there is an O'Day 30 on ebay for $5k, with an inboard yanmar. Do you want to have a boat thats already done up, or some good bones and add your own equipment?
IMHO, in this economy, the cape dory is way overpriced for an older boat. And although I had a honda on the back of my C&C25 for years, I was pretty happy to get an inboard diesel on my current Pearson 30. FYI, my pearson30 has a good diesel, all new standing rigging, chart plotter, new sails, etc...and cost a small fraction of the Cape Dory on ebay. Also, florida is the place where boats are really really cheap (its the bottom of the hill, so to speak).
So, YES, you would be very happy with the cape dory, provided you are alone or are extremely friendly with your crew. No way around it...its a small boat. But if money is a concern...keep looking.