There is an almost infinite variety of cruising life styles, and they are all valid for different people. As a result, it is impossible for someone else to say which boat is best for you. All of the boats on your list are, or at least were, capable of cruising the Bahamas. But, they are all old. The "best" one is the one that is in the best condition and is big enough to support your life style and carry your stuff safely. With the vintage you are considering and given your intended use, condition is far more important than original design:
1. Size: The good news is that in the Bahamas most people spend the vast majority of their awake on-the-boat time in the cockpit
(it needs to be comfortable and well shaded - especially for computer use). Thus, there is little premium placed on spacious salons, etc. You sleep and cook "in" the boat. But, for the most part, you don’t live "in" it. Nevertheless, the boat needs to be big enough so that the cabin
doesn’t become a catwalk between supplies. Also, you may have special issues such as height requirements. IMO lack of standing head
room below decks is unacceptable for extended cruising
2. Bed/bath/tanks/dinghy: Crawl-in bunks, awkward sit-down showers, and restricted water
capacity probably spoil more cruises than storms and reefs
- especially for women. Bending, stooping, crawling gets old. Most of the boats on your list probably have reasonably accessible V berths, but you need a good mattress and you need to keep this area clear of stuff. Use the quarter berth for storage
, and forget about fold out settees - they are a PIA for everyday use.
I don’t know what your girlfriend’s views on showers are. But, most of these boats probably carry 20-30 gal. of water
. Most likely you will be making frequent jerry-jugging dinghy
trips. Nothing wrong with that, but it serves to highlight the need for a good reliable dinghy
. In the Bahamas many people use their dinghy every day - not much point in being there if you’re just going to stay on the boat.
3. Electricity: You mention going without refrigeration
- not my idea of fun in the Bahamas. But, it can certainly be done, and it will vastly reduce your electrical
needs. Nevertheless, communications
, navigation, entertainment, lights, and your computer have significant demands. You will have to spend some time calculating and accommodating these demands. The engine
can charge your batteries for this kind of use, but you will be running it frequently. Some energy reduction strategies are quite inexpensive - eg. solar
I also agree with TaoJones. There has almost always been a significant difference between asking and selling prices for older 30 something cruising boats. And in today's economy, that difference has probably expanded.