Oops, thread hijacked.
your response reminded me of something...
Until you have left, you're guessing. no amount of forum threads, books
or other academic research
can prepare you for what your unique experience will be.
I bought a big heavy full keel ketch
because most of my research taught me that I need one to survive. If I had it to do over again I'd buy something that sails
well in light air, is well balanced and agile to weather
. There are people out there in lighter displacement
boats who wish they had more interior
space offered by big traditional designs.
I met a canadian couple in San Carlos
who had a nifty 50' aluminum
. Their first time out they had a 40' full keel ketch
. they concluded after their first cruise
that they preferred performance and because t hey couldnt find a smaller aluminum
in their price
range they compromised and got a much bigger boat than they originially sought. There are many different kinds of cruisers and many different kinds of cruising. Their advice
to new or wannabe cruisers re:decisions is to go on what they have so they can learn what they want.
I spent much time/money on things it turned out I didnt need and missed out on some things I wish I had gotten. Ultimately had we not left on a date I dont think we would have ever left.
I totally agree though that being ready is different for different people. but we really cant know until we've been there. Our best case scenario is an educated guess and if the desire is to get out there the only way for it to happen is to do it.