You need to do a lot of very careful investigations into what you really want. Spend a bunch of time going to shows, looking at boats, and sailing (any way you can).
For a live aboard you will most likely want the bigger boat, to sail faster, you will want the bigger boat.
For sailing in the gulf and around the smaller islands, you will want the shallow draft
. For ease on the pocket book, you will want the smaller boat.
For easy sailing, you will want the roller furling
for the mainsail
. But not for the faster sailing, (you give up a lot of mainsail
area for the roller furling).
My wife and I spent 29 days on the water
between Corpus Christi Tx, and Tampa Fla. we had a 2002 32 foot Hunter. At the end of the trip, my wife said we need a bigger boat and to plan a longer trip. So, I am back to work
with plans for a 42' Island Packet
in our future. 59' bridge clearance, and 5' draft
. Much better for the Inner Coastal Water
Way. (Our Hunter drew 5'10").