Having spent a significant amount of time around chartercats and other boats in incarnations as varied as a refit engineer
,captain and base manager my humble opinion is this:
Stay very very far away from anything with a saildrive
. It takes a special kind of bravery to put to sea in a boat whose gearbox
is situated in a vulnerable aluminium
housing ( through a large hole in the hull) 18 inches below the boat immersed in seawater
When it fails you normally have to haul the boat...and they fail exponentially more often than the standard propshaft/prop configuration.
The South Africans at Robertson and Caine seem (to me) to build far more robust boats than ther French counterparts. Having probably built over 1000 leopards which have all been delivered from 34 deg south across the Atlantic...R and C have no structural failures on record
( and I am willing to be wrong). They probably don't go as fast as the Lagoons though....
Sadly, the new Leopards have saildrives...I am sure the folks at R and C will regret it one day.
Sure they are easier to build, give more room inside without a noisy engine
under an aft bunk....however those are things that one can live with given the alternatives!
Again...just my humble opinion...I'm sure there are many happy saildrive
owners out there.....