Thanks for your kind words. Wow - the three boats you mention are certainly diverse! Hunter
- roomy with some clever ideas, but VERY lightly built. OK for coastal cruising, but certainly not for offshore
. Personally Iwouldn;t even venture to take one to the Bahamas, but I know that several have made the trip. Personally I'd steer well clear of a Hunter for what you seem to want to do.
The Bristol, on the other hand, is a good, solid boat. It would serve you well - expecially as a beginning boat. Not to roomiest foot for foot because of their more traditional hull
shape, but a much better choice for venturing offshore
And then there are the cats. You either love 'em or hate 'em. Yes, they are roomy. Yes, they stand up well ... to a point. Yes, they are fast - especially in flat water
. But I've sen way too many of them being sailed by bareboat
charterers down where we are trying to beat to seather when the seas are up. They buck and leap like a wild horse and I've know of more than just one or two which have flipped - and once they are over, they stay over. In a mono, you can get awfully wet if you take a knockdown, but at least the odds are in your favor that the boat will right itself and after a bit of pumping you can continue. Can't do that in a cat if the mast
gets to poiting the wrong direction!
As for chartering - you'll need a bigger boat than any you have mentioned and a bit more experience than you have so far ... but feel free to contact me off this list (use the address in the website) and I'll be happy to discuss this with you from what we're learned so far.
Suggestion: when we were "between" boats and looking for our next (and hopefully last) one, we did a lot of chartering - and I don't mean with the usual fleets of Beneteaus, etc. There are lots of smaller charter
outfits who offer a wide variety of boats whichyou can experience. We chartered Tartans, Sabres, a Crealock
37 by PacificSeacraft (terriffic boat), A couple of Cape Dorys (also great boats), an old Dickerson Ketch
, a Cabo Rico
38 ... and others I can't recall
. Each is different, and onlyby gaining experience by living with different boats for a while (a week is scarcely enough time) can you really get a feel for what you want. For example, I swore I'd never have a center cockpit
- but now I love it.
Take your time - do your homework - talk to lots of people - read boat reviews
on older boats (Cruising World has bunches of them you can obtain). But don't just pounce on the first boat that seems to meet your current
needs - boats are much easier to buy than they are to sell if you find you've made a mistake!
Happy hunting - and good luck!