If you hire a consultant you'll be missing out on the best part of purchasing
a boat! You'd be giving away all that dreaming opportunity! Stick with us - you'll do fine!
Had a taste of the canals this year - quite interesting bumping down the 1.95M deep Dutch canals in a boat with a 2M draft! Unfortunate part was that we couldn't get to the edge to stop! (The one time we did manage to get to the side, we tangled the mast
in the trees!!) It's totally convinced us that after we've completed our sailing time (maybe in 10 or 15 years) that we'll be buying
a barge - to take best advantage of the extensive canal system in Europe
. In our mind, trying to do both (sailing and canals) with a single boat doesn't quite work - but then we want to spend years doing each...
If you're planning years for each, I'd recommend you buy one boat and then trade
it for the other. Besides, it gives you 2 opportunities to dream about your purchase!!!
It's interesting that our plan is the reverse of yours - we plan to sail then 'canal' - figuring we'll be too old and crumbly to sail, but still able to navigate the canals...
As to sail boats - easily single handed and blue water capable - you might check out morganscloud.com - there's a looooooong discussion about a new boat being designed - which is expected to come in at $200K or thereabouts - NEW! (Ok, so they haven't built one yet - but the discussion on the design concept
- if you can manage to read it all - is quite an education...)
Enjoy your research!