My name is Jeff and I'm currently living in Los Angeles. I'm in the process of slowly weeding out all possessions that aren't currently in use or have great sentimental value and have my home for sale. (Trying to sell a home in this market is a story in itself)
I have been sailing a Catalina 36' around Santa Monica and Catalina Island for the past year, but it is bareboat chartered when I have a free weekend. I've sailed the Windwards on a 39' Beneteau and have sailed around the Bahamas during college on a Morgan '41 OutIslander.
I retire in few years and my current plans are to find the right blue water cruiser and move aboard, spending the last few years at my job as a liveaboard. Knowing that I need to know a lot more about boat systems before setting off, this seems the most reasonable way to get to know the boat well.
Since I have a bit of time to research and select a boat, I'm in no rush.
I am looking for a "4 wheel drive" type cruiser. Tough and dependable, not necessary the prettiest in the fleet. I've been looking at Amels, Hallberg Rassys, Island Packets, Norseman etc. and my price range is around $200K. Size considering ~ 40 to 45'
I'm stuck on a couple of questions.
1) At some point I'll spend a fair amount of time in Florida and the Bahamas due to my ties there. Most of the blue water boats have a fairly significant keel depth. At what point does that become a killer for the Bahamas and the East Coast of Central America?
2.) Some of the boats have fairly significant windage profiles with raised salons and hard dodgers, at what point does this become significant when beating upwind? Something to worry about considering shallower keels required from Question 1? (Something like a Cal 46 with a raised salon, hard dodger and only a 5' keel)
3.) (Referee, feel free to step in and set ground rules
) I've also been looking at cruising cats. I understand many of the plus and minuses, but in the real world, have cat owners found they were more limited in route selection due to upwind performance than monohulls? Or are the difference in sailing capabilities more numbers than real world? The reason for this question is a theoretical problem like this - If I decide to go to the South Pacific, am I stuck once I'm in Australia or can I get back east to say Tonga or the Cook Islands?
4.) I am also single, and whether I find someone to share the adventure with or not, I'm going. So the boat may be single handed for stretches at a time, should that factor into any comments.
Thanks everyone for a great site and I look forward to the lively discussion.
And for any of you lurkers seeking crew positions in LA, I'm out on the water about once a month if you just want a nice day sail. (No, I'm not looking for paid compensation... Ok, you can spring for my sandwich