One of the best answers for both the family at sea question as well as the which boat question is to try one or more one week long charter
trips after preparing the crew ashore as much as practical. Set very easy goals and try to make having fun the absolute priority as you sneak in some sailing experience. Develop patterns for operation of the boat and living aboard
. When people understand what is going on they react better and are more effective. That is true not only for yourself but for the entire crew. Lots of small details have to be worked out one crew member
at a time. Even small children
have a role to play and a set of needs.
The dynamics of the family are most unique between the individuals. At sea things need to work. Some shorter cruises remove a lot of pressure from all people thinking of doing a longer trip. It builds experience and with that confidence in ones self and the rest of the crew. Building that type of solidarity is important. If your preparation can include as many members as possible in what ever ways they can actively participate then you stand the best chance of enjoyment. All your family problems on land get loaded on the boat. I would use that as a guide to the things you have to sort out. Staring now for a 2010 trip is not too early. Not being in a hurry is sound advice.
As far as budgets go we have a great many discussions on the forum because it such a complicated topic. The cost of the initial purchase is just one number. There are the costs of refitting anything not seaworthy
or destined to be replaced for a long trip. There is all the gear safety
and otherwise that you will need to buy. Boats don't come with everything included. There are also the expected operational expenses. To single
out just the purchase price
is a mistake. Alone it's not the budget
number you need to work with. This is where planning out the trip becomes very important.
The spectrum of what has been done before is quite wide. The spectrum of what is best for your family is perhaps more narrow that that. Your budget and personalities are yours uniquely.