I think you have a pretty solid plan.
Like many other folks we started a similar journey. the Annapolis boat show
is a great place to see what the market is currently offering. Sail on as many boats as you can to see what you like and don't like. Classes
, charters, friends are all pretty cheap
ways to see what works and what doesn't. Also a good way to see if a Cat offers what you are looking for.
For years we sailed full time on a friends Freedom 32 coastal cruising, best sailing value I have ever had.
Our first boat was a Hunter
336, our 2nd was a Hunter
410. Production costal cruisers give you a lot of amenities for your buck. The hunter 410 was a great boat to sail and pretty comfortable. It didn't have a generator
or a water
maker but plenty of water
and house batteries to keep things going. It also had A/C so when you get to many rainy foggy days pull into a dock
and turn On the AC. While both boats were great, they were not the boat we would take for extended offshore
cruising. ( although, many have done exactly that)
I wouldn't start outfitting the boat with world cruising gear
till ya ready to go and know you have the right boat. For example our current
boat we don't have a water maker. However as we increase our offshore
trips and remote
locations we know we will add one. But for the sailing we currently do it is not required and probably won't be used very often, and would be another system to maintain. Then we we do go on extended trips we would be starting with a ten year old water maker.
As we have grown in experience our boats have also grown. This past summer we competed in the Marion Bermuda race
, I believe there is a similar Annapolis
. While we can debate if the US sailing rules are overkill, I did appreciate the structured approach to looking at mechanical, and safety gear
, including storm sails
and heavy weather sails
. For us we used the race
to get the boat ready for blue water sailing
. We spent the good part of the year before getting the boat ready for the race. After completing the race and returning I feel the boat and us our another step better prepared for larger journeys.
Good luck and enjoy the adventure