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Chall,

I like the way you posited this question. It's an interesting twist on the usual perspective.

As someone who sails a quote "bluewater" boat coastally, I think there is much to be said for this approach. But that has a lot to do with my preferred sailing style and personal circumstances.

Financially, we could afford this type boat in the size range we were looking when we bought it. Absolutely no regrets. There have been instances even here on Chesapeake Bay where we sailed home when others had to stay put. And we did it comfortably with little fuss or concern. These designs may not win the round-buoy races in light air, but they do inspire confidence when it's blowing.

But all that said, as we consider a larger boat for our future needs (growing family), we won't be able to afford a newish 40+ footer that has a true "bluewater" pedigree. Not only that, but most of those boats lack some of the features we insist on for our next boat (three sleeping cabins, to begin with). Most of them seem to be designed primarily with couples in mind -- not families.

I am confident that if we do end up with a standardized "production boat" in the +/- 40 foot range, it will be more than capable of handling the U.S. East Coast sailing that we primarily plan. And it will be competent enough to take to "the islands" and even Bermuda.

So it depends partly on the size range. I'm comfortable doing the above in the 40 foot production boat. There are very few 30 foot production boats about which I would say the same. In the low-mid 30-foot range it gets to be a tougher call. Whereas in our current 31 foot "bluewater" boat I would not hesitate.

...But, thinking about all the same issues you've listed above, I've decided to narrow my search to a heavier boat with a CC. It'll be a more comfortable ride for the wife and kids than a beamy hotrod - and, overall, will afford us more protection from my horrendous sailing abilities and poor judgement.
:D :D
Smack, good luck with the search. I like the family friendly layouts of CC boats too. But you've probably noticed that there aren't too many being made any more in the smaller/mid-size range. One of the reasons is the "dirty little secret" of smaller CC boats: They tend to be extremely wet in the cockpit while under sail. It's less of an issue as the boats get longer. So depending on what length you're looking at, just be sure to find one with a good cockpit enclosures or at least the ability to install one.:)
 

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JRP, thanks for the perspective, we are looking in the low-mid 30ft range which is why it is a tougher call, it seems like we can have comfort(ex charter production boat, for example Beneteau 351) or sturdiness(aussie old shoe), but comfort and sturdiness in our size/price bracket seems nearly non existent..
Chall,

I know the Beneteau 351. They are nice boats. VERY voluminous. Great for coastal sailing with a family. But not sure I'd want to take it across Bass Strait. I'll ask my friend that has one if he would go to Bermuda in it -- I think I know the answer.

Here's a photo of my friend's 351 rafted with another friend's boat. It is really an interesting study in contrasts, especially when you consider that the other boat (on left) is a 42 footer:

 
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