Hello, I am new a new member to SeaKnots. I saw the site in "Sail" magazine, and joined because it seemed like a great resource to gaither information about cruising. Currently I enjoy sailing my 17' Hunter, but my long range goals include purchasing a vessel suited for cruising.
My first question, which is probably common, what manufacturers should I consider that would fit the following criteria?
1) Seaworthy for coastal and offshore sailing.
2) Ability to be sailed singlehanded or shorthanded, though I'd like the ability to sleep a family of four. I'm guessing that may be in the 30-33' range?
3) Likely destinations: East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean.
4) Duration of cruises may vary from a week to maybe a month at a time.
5) Level of comfort: moderate
I read John Vigor's book "The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat" which provided many criteria to consider, but left me wondering which of todays manufacturers best meet the needs of an offshore sailboat. I'm sure all manufacturers/dealers will tell that their boats will best meet my needs (perhaps they do), but this is why I'm asking the cruising community for unbias opinions and information.
Finally, of course there are budgetary constraints and I'll probably look focus on something pre-owned. But I'm more interesed in first meeting my criteria, then work I'll back from there.
It's a big question to start off with, but thanks in advance for your help.