We are in pretty much the same family
situation as you are, with three kids
aged 5, 6 and 9. We bought our first family cruiser a year ago, a 28' Maxi
84. The two youngest ones sleep in the forepeak, the rest in the saloon
. The Maxi
84 is quite roomy both below and in the cockpit
, and sail handling is unproblematic even when the entire family sits up there. A deep cockpit
makes it safe for the kids
, the disadvantage being that forward view is restrained when sitting on the bench, so I prefer to perch on the narrow and arguably somewhat narrow coaming when steering
Some smaller boats may not be laid out with a separate compartment for the head
. For pleasurable family cruising, and as long as the boat otherwise fits a young family, both accomodation and safety-wise, I'd say a separate head
is the single
most important feature IMHO.
The fact that we have to share the cabin
with the kids at night doesn't really bother us much, and believe me, Norway
is way wetter and colder than California
, so sitting up in the cockpit is seldom a real option. But then our entire family hugely enjoys reading so we make sure we are well stocked up on literature, and as each crew member
snucks up in their berth with a book, the evenings become quite pleasurable IMHO.
BTW, the Maxi 84 is a mono, I have no experience with multihulls.