For perspective, Largo to Long Island
is not really "blue water" and does not require a "get you through hell" boat. You will rarely be out of sight of land. This is probably the best stretch of water
in the world for the number of easy access ports
, in all weather
and all times of day, and precise weather
forecasts. Not to mention the charting is accurate down to the foot - you can come into ports
blind if needed. You can do this in a Macgregor
26 if you want. You also have the option of traveling in completely protected waters if the weather goes bad outside - and if you simply skip these protected waters for the "blue water" cruising, you will miss out on almost all the area has to offer. I can't think of more protected and easy cruising than the US East coast
from FL to CT.
And given that the vast majority of the sailing season on the US East coast
has light winds, I suggest you go the opposite direction in the type of boat you consider. $150,000 will for sure get you a palace for this type of cruising. You can spend half that and do just as well with money
left over. Look for a good light-wind boat with a good engine
. Modest draft
will help in exploring some areas, but not a requirement.
The Panda would be a mistake for this use.