I owned a Catalina 30, Mark II, fin keel for seven years. I also sailed an Ensign for six years and a Beneteau 41 for two years. I am 66 years old and my wife is 62. We are decent shape for our ages.
Below are the features that I would like in my next sailboat. My desire is to buy a cruiser/racer that is a little bigger, with a little more privacy, and a little faster than my old C30. I want to single-hand on occasion, JAM race, and take trips on Lake Erie with family and friends. Ideally I would like to buy a boat that I could sail with friends and family on regattas, long-distance races like the Trans-Erie, the Port Huron Mac, maybe the Chicago Mac, and possibly even the Trans-Superior. I want a boat that can be raced short-handed. I do not want to bear the on-going cost of performance sails, Dacron is fine.
Features by Priority
Less than $100,000 including taxes and transportation to Cleveland
Scoop or similar transom with easy to use swim ladder
Overall length 32 to 38 ft.
Waterline length minimum 26.5 ft.
Able to sleep myself, wife, daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons ages 8, 5, and 2
Want some sleeping privacy for the adult couples
Draft maximum 5 ft.; will consider centerboard or other variable keel
Beam maximum 12 ft.
Lake Erie PHRF rating lower than 185
Sail area/displacement ratio of 16 to 21
A6 CE category minimum
NMMA certified construction
Roller furling jib
In-mast furling or lazy-jacks
Refrigerator and freezer
Fresh water only boat
VC17 bottom paint or similar
Electric anchor windless
One of more sail handling winches electric
3-blade feathering prop or ultra-reliable 3-blade folding prop
Bimini and dodger
Set-up for asymmetrical or cruising spinnaker
Any advice or counsel on suitable boats will be appreciated.
Have you thought about five years from now when the grandkids are 13,10, and 7. A Beneteau 361 seems like a good fit for the short term if the family can handle a little up close an personal. For growth, maybe something up from there a bit like a 39' though you might have go above you $100K limit.
We looked at a 361 this last weekend. The forward V is VERY pinched at the end and the aft berth has such a limited access as to require both to exit if the aft person has to pee... Galley was nice, but the berths killed it for us and it's just the two of us...
I'd find it hard to fit the simple sleeping needs the OP mentioned...