Originally Posted by Commodore Salt
I don't believe we would both have the same idea of "minimum needs". At this stage in my life I like a little more comfort. 31 has the best interior and the 37 is the better passage maker. 31 may be the minimum. I like the extra displacement, speed, storage and waterline length of a 37.
Her minimum needs may be more like 3br 2ba ranch house on 2 acres with a barn and shop, 4 dogs, 4 cats, horse and tractor.
Welcome aboard. It is both a lot of fun and a lot of work to find just the right boat for living aboard and voyaging. Optimizing to the max.
It is hard to pull oneself away from a full land-based life with many land-based hobbies (garden, pets, biking, off-road driving, playing music instruments, and so forth...) if there aren't boat-based hobbies that can take the place of fulfilling activities. One can have a plant or two, smaller pets, a folding bike, smaller instruments, and so forth, but it is sometimes very difficult for someone to make the transition from land to boat even when the person loves to sail and explore the world by sailing.
If a person gives up all land-based homes (no apartment, no cottage, no nothing left on land) then some hobbies disappear "poof" and can leave a big empty spot in that person's life. Then, being in love with the ocean and sailing life become super-important to make up for all that the person has "left behind." The whole thing can be very depressing, an unexpected "downer" and shouldn't be taken lightly by others.
This is nontrivial. Women, in particular, have often spent a lifetime of being defined by "home and hearth" as well as family and frequently have hobbies that center on a domestic life. Thus, if someone pulls it all away and plops the such a woman down on a sailboat, unless it's HER idea, she's likely to be less than thrilled about the matter.
You may have been joking when you discussed your wife's minimum needs. However, if there is even a bit of reality for you and your wife in that statement, I'd really suggest that you let your wife lead the search for the right boat and that you work with her on what it takes to "optimize" and get the best boat you can to fulfill both your budget as well as your needs and expectations for a cruising lifestyle. If the boat ends up being far larger than you expected or if you end up with "vacations" to a small property that you can maintain, that just may be your reality for happy cruising together as a couple.
My husband and I try very hard to do what is needed to keep both of us happy. His hobbies are the "big" ones that take up space and weight capacity and managed to come with us on the boat because we were conscious of how important some of his hobbies were to him. Of course, we have shared hobbies that we managed to keep high on the priority list, too. Hobbies that were mine alone were either small and light (sewing, art) or so truly shore-based (gardening, playing the piano...and no, I don't accept a "keyboard" as the same thing as a piano so don't even have one aboard) so that I had to decide to just let them go and take up other things instead. My piano waits for me (stored in a friend's living room) and I have the goal of learning to play another, smaller, instrument; and my gardening days will return when some decade in the future we return to land.
Again, welcome to Cruiserlog! We look forward to your participation and the participation of your wife as things go along