I do not think I could recommend specific boats given your criteria but would post a comment for you to think about and others to contribute to.
To me there are more fundimental questions you need to answer before getting into specifics. First and foremost is the question of newer/nicer/smaller vs bigger/older/needsmorework. My decision some time ago was to buy on quality. I also chose a specific size range based on displacement
rather than LOA
and bounded all choices by rig and PHRF. My thoughts were that performance is a key component in the way *I* sail. If the boat does not sail well, then we are simply going to be a motorboat...might as well get a trawler
. And I sail for fun...sailing...even day sailing
will be one of my chief activities when I am cruising for good. For comfortable living aboard
for two with an occasional couple as guests, displacement
of a min of perhaps 14,000-18000lbs was needed ....but in order for the boat to be handled by myself alone or short handed...no more than 24,000lbs. In looking, I was really in the 18,000-22,000 lbs range.
So, those parameters gave me a boat that could be sailed well, fast, shorthanded and lived aboard comfortably.
Looking through boats that would become my future retirement
boat, I found it was easy to find a lot of crappy, neglected boats with lots of problems. Over the years, having owned several boats, I have an firm understanding of just what a drain on your resources a bad boat is. Many dock
neighbors have had many horror stories. I set a limit of 1985 or newer for a number of reasons. First, it is more difficult and more expensive to get my insurance
co to insure a boat older than 20 yrs. Wiring
on boats older than 1980 should also be looked at as suspect. And the older the boat the more owner mods it generally had....many of these will be inferior and problematic.
Chosing a boat that was well designed, well built and well maintained proved a long search but more than worth it. It forced the choice to a smaller, better built boat but that has worked out to be a great choice. It saved me from spending too much money
on basic issues of seaworthiness and focus on upgrades for comfort and safety
. It also means that the boat is now offshore
ready ahead of sched and I will have a boat that I can spend the next few years enjoying, rather then working on. A boat that will likely remain problem free ...and thus lower total ownership
cost...more importantly...less cost out of pocket when cruising.
To make this shorter...finally in short, looking at boat designs from the 70's through the 90's, it was easy to see than many 35-40ft 1980-90 era boats had the accomodations of most 42-48ft 1970's and 60's era boats. My boat has the largest vee berth of any boat I have ever seen, including any boat designed today. Can't hate that.
Other than the above, you would have to decide on your other critical needs based on the cruising areas you intend to go. For my cruising, there was a need for shallow draft
pointing ability. Fortunately, a keel/Cb design works well for me. As for your need.....if you want a private stateroom for each kid (not a bad idea) I am only familiar with a couple boats that will accomodate that: the french charter
boats... Bene's and Jeaneau's. Of course Liza Copeland cruised for over 6 yrs with her husband and three kids
on a Bene first 38 (which has two aft qtr cabins). I met a wonderful Canadian couple last season in FLA who were also cruising with three kids
. Their boat was actually the Copelands first First 38. Those kids were 6, 10 and 13, two boys and a girl. The private aft qtr cabins .....while very small on the bene imho....work great for kids. The two older kids who had the aft qtr cabins were happy as clams.
Not a bad life.
Hope this helps