OK, let's eliminate the Lavezzi. Even if what you say is not right, I hate that galley. Keeping the Leopard for now, what else to look at? Bigger FPs also foam core (which also scares me somewhat, although if you're getting water
ingress in there surely you're pretty buggered whatever the material is?)? What else in the budget?
I think you're right. 2 out of 3 aint bad. Whilst I'm not fussy about performance, I like the fact that most cats will sail upright, with less effort, at higher speeds in comfort than most monos. I like that from a safety
angle more than for the adrenalin factor; if there's ugly weather
about, or even just the huge tides and currents we get around the Solent, I like that a cat can get out of the way of issues better than most monos. I like 2 engines for redundancy. I like that they are very unlikely to sink, unless you sail in front of something big, in which case you get what you ask for. Also the low draft
gets us into more of the tide-affected coastal areas. Further to this, it's nice when buying
a sailboat, to actually sail; thus those that will sail in lighter winds are preferable; even if you're only doing 3-5 knots it's better than driving. I hate driving around in a sailboat; you wouldn't sail a car, either.
So while it's marginal, I understand the Lagoons to be more comfort and less performance than the other big manufacturers mentioned above and hence am thinking about them less. I'm willing to listen if someone wants to dissuade me (on anything), though.
I haven't owned a boat before but have sailed quite a bit around the south coast of the UK (club and regatta
crewing) and in the Med (holidays, on monos). I have a large family (4 young kids) and and inexperienced wife (she's inexperienced as a sailor, as a wife she's done 12 years with me, which is hard enough mileage), both of whom are pretty new to sailing and I have a much better chance of getting them keen by presenting them with a flat, broad platform to sail on than a bucking, narrow one!
This is just for fun, weekend pootling right now. However, if the family loves it, I can see us going to the Channel Islands, Scandinavia, East Coast
, maybe even round to the Med if there's time.
So this boat is for gentle fun, not heroics, or not for many years yet.