You'll want amenities, most of which are on all more modern vessels, but just in case- hot & cold running water
(not just an ice box), gas burners (preferably with a large gas tank).
Where are you going to hang out with friends? In the cockpit
. So you'll want an easy hatch
to get in and out- the Catalina 30
is probably king of that. And a short stairway because you'll be up and down up and down.
You'll want a comfy cockpit
(and cushions!). You'll want to lay against the cabin
bulkhead facing aft, and you won't want the traveler across the cockpit. Of course you'll need a bimini
to hide from rain and sun.
. Make sure it has a big bed
. Now, somebody is going to gripe about what I have to say, but in my search for a new boat this is one of the three mandatories- a big bed. V berths are OK for weekends and some live-aboards, but not for me. I want my lady right next to me, not separated by the "V" in the berth; and neither of us wants to climb over the other like in the Beneteau
405. And I don't like aft cabins because I love the breeze coming down the hatch
dropping on my face. You should give some good thought to the bed and cabin
, because that is where you will spend a lot of time.
Our other "mandatory" is a step-through transom.
You'll want a boat you can single-hand (take on/off dock
and sail alone) which is not that hard and fine for a B36. Yeah, but you'll have friends to "help" right? Huh. Not land people. Easier to tell them to sit there, and you do the work.
If you're tall make sure the boat has headroom
where you need it. We had a killer deal on a great boat that hadn't even been listed- that is, until we actually got in the boat and realized we couldn't stand up in the galley
How easy is it to get in and out of the dining area? Some are L shaped, meaning first in last out- so if Mr. First In is seated near the bulkhead and decides he needs to use the loo just as you serve dinner, everybody has to scoot out, wait for him, then back in again. Best to have a table approachable from two sides.
Don't get all upset about AirCon. There are those made to drop through hatches, but many people make do with a standard unit through the companionway
(where you get in and out of the cabin). I use an upright self-contained unit that exhausts through a port and stores away under the V Berth. There are plenty of ways to take care of that.
Finally- and most important- is security
. During the week and particularly at night marinas
get pretty quiet and empty. A lady aboard alone during quiet periods is not, to my mind, a great idea. At least you'll want to be able to lock from the inside and secure the hatch against intrusion. So you'll want to talk to people around your selected marina(s).