We owned a 1997 50' custom dutch catamaran
for a decade. She took us and two little kids
all over the Caribbean
and across the Pacific. She has been back and forth from NZ to Tonga
several times and I've singlehanded her on many occasions. Sharing all this as I have some opinions on these big girls :-)
Your question was age. The builder
of out boat retired to New Zealand
and we had the opportunity to take him and his wife sailing (he had never actually sailed the boat!). At this point Ohana was about 10 or 11 years old and I was contemplating keeping her through her 20s plus (just a great boat). She had depreciated to that magic 10 year point and I felt that taking her to 20 would be the next big hit on value. That being said we would get 10 more years of enjoyment which is value in itself.
So I asked Lois Ooms "how long with this boat last?" and he answered in his thick dutch accent "she vill last forever, she is plastic".
A well maintained cat that is 5-10 years old and is well maintained will be a great value. The first few years are working out bugs anyway and the big hit on value. The systems that need to be attended to will be similar to all boats over time and short of decor all pretty standard.
Other advice we received when shopping
was "buy as much waterline as you can afford". I totally agree with this and would stay above 47' as your budget seems to allow.
Handling for two, no problem what so ever. Not only are they exceptionally easy to maneuver in tight spaces, offshore
the fatigue factor is almost nil. We anchored in Atuona after an 18 day crossing and within two hours of dropping the hook (in 5' of water
I might add) we had folks over and a great party. Our friends on a 60' monohull
were shot and recovering for 3 days.
As far as the concern about no where to haul or moor we did not have a problem over the years. We did learn sometimes better to pull into a marina then as for a space rather than call ahead. Once on the fuel dock
or just off it everyone seemed to find somewhere to put us.
Now at present we are back to a 94 monohull
which was inexpensive relative to the cat and perfect for what were doing now, banging around the east coast
. Your plan sounds awesome and when time comes for us to back to full time liveaboard
it will be on two hulls :-)