Think of boats like the J-122, J-130, Aerodyne 38, Cape Fear 38, Farr 395, X-4 etc.) /QUOTE]
Thanks, Jeff, very educational as usual.
I flog this horse every year or so but sadly as much as I like the idea of a fast boat the idea of an older couple cruising and living aboard a boat like the ones mentioned above seems highly unlikely especially in relatively shallow water and under ICW bridges.
I see some high-end European boats that are bigger and much more expensive but so far have not found a boat that is both fast, 40ish feet, 100 to 200k, 5 to 15 years old.
Maybe it can't be built, or maybe the market is just not there.
Last year we talked about converting a racer into a cruiser and the end result was that it would just ruin the racer and not be a very comfortable cruiser.
Sigh, the tyranny of design reality.
Those boats cited in my example were not meant to be 'fast cruisers for an older couple'. They were meant to show what a boat with an SA/D in the 20's might look like, and for no particular reason most were chosen to be around 38-42 feet on deck.
But if you are looking for a boat that is "fast, 40-ish feet, 100 to 200k, 5 to 15 years old", they exist but they are rare. Think of it this way, the last time I saw statistics on this, there were less than 3,000 sailboats sold in the U.S. that were over 30 feet, and that represented approximately half of the sailboats of that size sold worldwide that year. In terms of length, there was a distorted bell curve that peaked at just a little less than 40 feet. If you think about the buying public, most are buying the higher production run, lower quality, coastal cruisers.
When you talk about live-aboard distance cruisers, these are a tiny piece of the marketplace. When you talk about performance oriented, live-aboard distance cruisers these are almost non-existent. And because that performance level requires more sophisticated design, construction, and engineering these boats end up being more expensive even if being constructed as production designs, but because they are limited in numbers (i.e. semi-custom) they also have that added cost. As nearly custom designs, many of these boats are built at premium yards as well (Cookson, Morris, Lindsey and so on), and that further adds to their cost. As a result, these boats often started out at twice the price of a larger volume coastal cruiser.
Its not that they don't exist. There are boats like the shoal draft version of the J-44 with the full cruising interior 1992 J Boats J/44 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
, or the Farr 1220 (Design 165) Farr 44 (design 89)
or Farr 46 (design 92) that come up for sale in your price range. There are larger production run boats like Beneteau 45F5 (AKA 45S5 for the Phillippe Starck interior) that fall in this category, and smaller production and way more expensive boats like the Morris 42RS and 44RS. I should note that these are longer boats but most of them are of a similar displacement to a more traditional 38-40 footer. In reality, ease of handling and most costs are proportionate to the displacement of the boat and not its length. But the greater length results in greater seaworthiness, and better performance, which are the major drivers in my own decision making process.
But it really comes down to what you personally are trying to accomplish. To me sailing ability is a major driver. Motoring down the ditch, less so. I would pick a boat that sails well, and is seaworthy, and which is easy to handle.
If I were regularly running north and south, I would probably jump offshore if I had a boat too tall and too deep for the ditch. When my dad was in his late 70's, he and my stepmom jumped out of Miami, sailed up the Atlantic Coast and came in at Beaufort, NC four days later with their Brewer 12.8. Dad swore he was more rested when they came in than when he left Miami. Going south he did the ditch and it was 3 weeks of higher stress. I have done a some of the ditch, and doing the ICW in a sailboat is not really my idea of fun.
Your mileage may vary.