(advance apologies if you have experience in what's mentioned below already)
As a suggestion (noted above) do check out Australia
. They have a great cat market and, from my personal experience, more of a selection.
I bought and then sold a cat five or six years later with Catamaran and Trimaran Sales - new and used - Multihull Yacht Sales Australia
I've been nothing other then a client of Phil Day, the owner, and Jim Stubbings, salesman extrodinare, and can not say enough good things about these two fine gents. Cameron, another salesman, was always available and extremely accommodating when Jim and Phil were out and about.
It's easier then you think if you're living in the States (where I'm guessing you are). Simply shop online and see if anything fits the bill when it comes time to make the move. Jump a flight (right now about 1,000usd give/take one way out of LAX), go look around (rent a mini-van and play tourist at the same time sleeping in it) and buy if you find something you like.
You would need to square away your visa first, but one can get up to a year multiple entry without much hassle if your not a convict, unhealthy or broke.
And, maybe best of all, you're in a prime location to begin playing. The east coast of Oz is a blast with NZ, New Cal
, Solomons, PNG, SE Asia
and Micronesia at your doorstep.
Right now 250,000usd will get you just shy of 300,000aud.
One thing I've learned is to fore-go all the bells and whisltes until YOU decide you need/want them....especially in used boats. Depends on the deal and situation, of course, but so much 'stuff' is not needed as one would think just getting into the game
Also, Australia has an outstanding yachting industry and everything you could want is there....often at a better cost then the USA.
If I may, I would suggest considering a slightly smaller boat that is better built and newer then a larger one that is older and maybe a teeny bit 'rough' around the edges. For just a couple 35-40some feet is alot of room to hide from one another.
I'm not up on the USA market as I once was, but many of the used cats I looked at in '99 that were launched in the early nineties cost more then a new Euro production cat...or close to it. Market just changed I guess and more was available towards 2000.
If you come across ex-charter boats, as a generalization, do beware. I saw one that had sunk twice in the Caribbean
(and all locally knew it) yet potential buyers were not being notified of it. Another (in Oz) was flipped during a race
and the salesman (not the link mentioned above!) did not mention it (learned this from a local standing on the dock
, by chance only).
Charter boats can and do take a structural beating from silly mistakes
that are not noticable up front.....not to put you off charter boats, just check 'em as best you can. (maybe not a bad idea to loiter around a berth a day or two before your sales meeting to casually chat up other yachties to see if somethings a-miss....everyone seems to know everyone elses boats and business)
Best of luck and regardless of what you end up with there's no better lifestyle on earth!! Go for it!