Med, thanks for starting this thread - and thanks for snagging some BFS stuff to support the cause. And, especially, thanks to everyone for the ideas.
After several years of pouring over posts and articles and YW and PHRF and reviews and yadda, yadda...I've narrowed my search to the following requirements:
1. 37'-40' sloop (maybe cutter, removable stay better) - I've decided to wait on the multi due to price
2. 2-3 cabins, 1-2 heads
3. Relatively deep keel (6'-7') for good windward performance
4. Either/Or Interior:
-a. Spacious and a bit pimpy for a sweet hangout at anchor
for non-salty family and friends.
-b. A bit more traditionally "seaworthy" for more hardcore sailing.
5. As fast as possible within the constraints (e.g. - PHRF in the sub-110 range)
6. Primarily for "Gulf Coast Cruising and Off-Shore Fun Races" with hops to Florida and the islands every 2-3 years.
7. Around $40K (I don't want to mess with a loan)
With the above in mind, I've narrowed things down to two boats:
1. '80's (to early '90's) Beneteau First 37-40
2. '80's Hunter 40
Now, being around these discussions long enough, I know where everyone is going to immediately go - saying I'm insane for even thinking about the Hunter with the Bene at play. The issue is - I really like the the Hunter 40 for two reasons: 1. The interior is great for 4.a above, I actually like the centerline queen, and with a bit of work and prep, is still very usable for real sailing, 2. It has a PHRF of around 104 (NCPHRF Base) - which is pretty dang snappy, even compared to the Bene. I've looked at several H40's over the last couple of years, understand the issues with the aft holding tank
, relatively "lighter" construction, limited storage, etc. - and still like the boat.
Trust me, I've looked at everything (Sabres, Pearsons, Ericsons, Irwins, Choy Lees, Hunter Cherubinis, J-Boats, especially Catalinas, you name it). And though I know these are all great boats for many reasons, the two above boats are my picks for the reasons above.
Now, I know that I basically can't go wrong with the Bene Firsts. But the recreational comfort aspect of the boat is very important to us right now. So, tell me exactly what's so bad about a well-kept Hunter 40.
(PS - I have absolutely no plans to have "-tanic" anywhere in the name. I'm not superstitious - but dang.)