Onelovecat.com is the website for the Zero to Cruising skipper
blog. One thing I am sure you already know is that the hurricane
season is coming up pretty quick. By mid July you are already in sketchy time. I don't know how to say this correctly so I will put the "flame suit" on...other skippers have many different ideas about this subject...but suffice it to say...the shorter the boat...the more systems...the worse the performance of the boat will be...some of the boats sold out there are floating hotels that have extremely poor performance for my taste.
I was at the Miami boat show
years ago and went on a sexy French catamaran
called a Privilege
(spelling?). I was just in shock how nice it was. I had never been on a boat like it. We went out into Biscayne Bay in about 10 knots of wind
. On a reach with about 10 people we were doing about 2 knots and that is generous. Went back in and got a ride on an F-27
...which is a trimaran
and minimalistic at best...and had 4 of us on board...we were doing low teens on a broad reach. So, you have to take all of that stuff into account about family needs, performance, cost, and taste. It really is fun sorting through it. My wife says I get a glazed..."deer, caught in the headlights look" at the boat shows...she might be right...smile...
Have fun Don...it really is a great spot you are in...enjoy it...
Don't forget about other manufacturers also. Personally I like the Outremer
(French) and the Atlantic Cats by Chris White. They have great performance and I do believe that if you go to the sales agents down chain you can get some really great buys on nicely set up boats. Take your time...