coming from another angle...
Does your wife want to learn, and well as you, how to sail, and to go out cruising and sailing with the family for extended times or...
Does she want a floating house on the water ?
We have been highly involved in sailing for nearly four decades , including professionally, and we live on or near the ocean.
We know people who buy an old boat....sail, or power that they do not sail, some are not even able to leave the sip, and some of the power boat
dudes, have boats that the engine
never operated or is not even in the boat.
They just get a good deal, pay the slip fees
, and they have a boat in Dana Point
Harbor, or really a floating house on the water in a great area. Pump
out of marine
heads comes into play here as well. So you need to have a vessel that you can take to a pump
out station. These guys do not.
Also, you need to find a marina or harbor that allows live aboards. Any , violation and they can boot you out , and of course a fine by the authorities .
before embarking on this project, which might just turn out to be more demanding and expensive that estimated, you might sit down and find out really what your family wants.
As far as I have read, and I did not read all of the excellent advice
, but the OP and family seem to have zero experience sailing, or boating
If you just want a floating house on the water, you might look around for that and a boat that you do not have to re build. I like your idea of larger.
Also, a catamaran is much more spacious than a monohull
. Living on a 34 ft, monohull
with 4 people is going to get quite cramped .
I like the idea of getting out for a week or so , on the water, making ocean passages, with the entire family. Learn what you all are getting into.
I have talked to people who invited family members to go on a bare boat sailing cruise
in the BVI
, and the mother in law, thought that that she was going to be on a SHIP.....like the comfort of a cruise liner. She heard Cruising the Caribbean
.....well, that trip did not work out so well.
Pleased to hear the OP loves fixing and building, but what does the rest of the family want. A sound grip on reality might be a good plan.
Personally, for living aboard
, and we love sailing, a lot, dast I say this, we would get a decent well found and seaworthy power boat
that has a whole lot more easy living space.
Lordy, King Neptune is going to hunt me down, and send my insolent self deep down to Davy Jones for even thinking of that.
Just some additional ideas to go with all the other great suggestions.
Some old sayings....Look before you leap, and prior proper planning prevents P..s poor performance.