If I were taking the wife and kids, or just the wife and visiting friends and family for an extended period of time, like years. I would get a big Cat. 50 something, with the four state rooms, the big salon, the four private baths etc. etc. the stability, the quick passages. You can't beat it. I've been sailing around and living on my 28 foot racer cruiser for well over 20 years and it's great for me and one other adventurous soul, but for the landlubbing counter parts, you can't go wrong with a Big Cat. It just cost's a dang fortune to buy, and slips are like double. But, if you anchor out and cut corners in other areas, it can be done. People are doing it so there's the proof. Now, on a budget more realistic to most of us. My second choice would be a big double ender like a west Snail or something, big and safe in a big sea and high winds, roomy, ya know. Forgiving. Again, this is for the extended comfy off shore cruise guy's. Not the round the bay, fast, gadget, coastal dudes with boats that are great new but crap in a decade, with out a total systems and structural out fit. Many people here will say how much they love there Catalinas and Hunter Passages. I don't buy it, but to each there own. My boat is 47 years old and in better shape than new. I know of some 30 year old west sails in the same shape as mine. Thick, hulled, tough, over sized well planed rigs from the Chain plates up. That's my penny's worth any way's.
I've never sailed one, but big cats are pretty amazing in terms of accommodations and stability. There are purists that will say it's a different type of sailing. But if you're doing extended cruising your goal isn't to round racing buoys.
I think they are easier to sail. I single handed a smaller 30 foot one in Key West for years as a charter boat captain and the only real difference I found in sailing her was how much easier she was to sail and faster she was. Stable, easier to handle deck work etc.
I would choose the boat I currently have, a Nor'sea 27.
It's a strong boat that can go just about anywhere. 4 of them have circumnavigated and others have gone on extensive cruising. Plenty of space for a couple people and lots of storage space. Very good following of current owners.
We chose a Pacific Seacraft (Crealock) 34. When we went looking at boats we had an open mind. We just wanted something that could make the Coconut Milk Run for under US$80k. We lived in Minnesota where our choices were limited.
We went to Duluth to look at a Murray 33 steel cutter and a Tartan 37 and went home with a Pacific Seacraft 34. The difference in quality was too obvious for us to ignore. We paid $82.5k, spent another $10k on overdue maintenance, and sailed it around the west end of Lake Superior.
This spring we packed all our belongings and set sail for Australia. Happy as clams!!!!
New boats? Possibly the Norstar 40 or 44. They incorporate modern underwater shapes and beam carried aft with the topsides, stems, & reverse sterns of sexy IOR design. Top build quality. Something like a Najad, perhaps, if the focus was coastal or island hopping.
Older boats, maybe a Kelly Peterson 44; Sweden Yachts 42 with heavy interior mods; Royal Huisman alloy boat if you can find one. Anything Wauquiez, tho they are tight and dark by today's standards.
I don't think I would ever "live" on a boat, but I could see myself doing a fair amount of cruising. If we are talking extended distances, a Gunboat 66 would be my dream boat. If we are talking extended durations, I would probably go with a Hinckley Sou'Wester 70. I am rich in this imaginary scenario, right?
Where are you going with this question. As written it falls heavily into the 'how long is a piece of string? category.
We all have our preferences that reflect our tastes, budget, crew, experience, venue, and so on. The boat I would want, would probably not be the boat that someone else might want, and vice versa. If money were no object, she would almost by definition need to be custom to get the mix of features that I would like.
Gunboat 66 fast passages huge room shallow draft with boards up. With twin engines I can handle it by myself if need be would be a lot of work though. I like some solitude but I also love to entertain when i get to port so the room would be nice. Nice and stable.
Well constructed, fast(for a cruising boat), pretty, excellent layout for a couple and occasional guests. It has real steps leading down the companionway, a nice sized pullman berth. 2 sleeping cabins each with it's own private head. Huge tankage(fuel-210, water-175, holding-100) and a reputation for world cruising. Great value.
Sails very well in all conditions with slab reef main and cutter rig. Many sail options to choose from. Points very well(35° apparent) and will out-sail any IP of comparable size. Sails well in heavy air. She will generally reach hull speed pointing in 12-14 kts. Light air performance is pretty good too.
Displacement about 23,000. 5.5' draft with a cut-away keel and a skeg hung rudder.
Many off-shore safety features like a rudder stuffing box dam, reinforced impact zones forward and the holding tank under the anchor locker acts as a collision bulkhead that can be holed without allowing water into the boat. All fuel and water tankage is built into the hull in 4 separate tanks that also act as below WL collision bulkheads that can be holed.
Light and airy below with 7 opening hatches and 12 opening portlights. 6'5" headroom. Small cockpit and nice swim platform with pull down ladder.
Downsides: Small nav station, no bridgedeck(must use hatch-boards off-shore)
My wife and I have lived aboard in Maine with our dog for nearly 3 years now. We spend every weekend we can out sailing from May 1st to December 1st. We are both tall(me 6' and my wife 5'10") and out dog is medium sized(60lbs). Plenty of room for us to be very comfortable.
think all cruisers will answer their own boat or be actively looking for the "last boat". I just took delievery of my Outbound and write this as I'm flushing out the fresh water tanks. She is a total joy. Haven't slept on land since delievery. Features
wondeful sailor- averaged 8.3 and saw 11 9kt on trip up from Virginia. With solent, carbon pole, well thought out preventor system easy to stand solo watches. Went from single to double reef multiple times. With dutchman, single line reefing(low friction spec'd) reefing by yourself easy and not scary as you can do it from cockpit. Al winches powered. Interior a delight. Every thing your hand touches is solid teak. Been on 10 y.o. Outbounds and they look boat show new. 5 berths behind the mast and two in front. Although all berths have bungle boards or lee clothes found no need for them as off watch could always find a good place to sleep without them ( ran in 4-8'ers). More comfortable than my house. 200g water and 200g fuel placed under sole amidship. 800a house bank.Tanks fiberglass -epoxy coated inside and glassed to hull or integral to hull. 2 water, 4 fuel. No maintaince. No worries of corrossion like with metal tanks or cracking as with plastic. No keel bolts. Collision bulk 7' aft of bow. bow thusher tunnel forward of this bulkhead. We took nice hot showers during passage. Two heads. One for stateroom forward manual. One aft- electircal. Seperate large shower room with seperate drain. Two compressors one for frig on for freezer. AC and frig/freezer water cooled. Heat central hydronic webasto. Every detail perfect. every system reliable and low maintance. Throu hulls arranged with manifolds so less of them.I could go on for hours. Sorry it's just like I felt with my first true love except I know this one will last the rest of my life.