the plan is to be retired living on the boat full time - I will do some work but mostly travel. My budget is below $300,000 but if the right boat is there - then I can go higher. We are also buying an class A motorhome so there is a tradeoff.
Key West to Houston is roughly 800 miles (done it many times in sailboats) but going around the bend is much longer. That is why I am looking more towards bluewater boats. I am sure there will be times we will do the whole bend - but we will be going from Key West to Houston at least twice a year. So most of those times we will want to go direct.
Yes Kewl Breeze had all the systems that are on a trawler....they were all a PITA to work on. Main reason I sold her is due to that - everything on the boat was just hard to work on. So engine rooms where I can get to the bits and pieces is important...I really like the ones with stand up engine room - wow what a great idea!!!! LOL
I have looked at many boats different styles; Hatteras, Cheoy Lee, Bayliner, Other Taiwan boats, Jeffersons, Ocean Alexander and am open minded.
I am an engineer (who did major project sales work for most of my life - but the engineer in me is still there). So I am slow at picking a boat. I do all the homework and look hard before I buy. This has caused some problems with brokers. I had one guy who made it clear I had to buy NOW and BUY FROM HIM. In the end he told me all Texans are full of Sh_t (along with French Canadians - heck I was ok until he insulted the French Canadians). Anyway, that guy is off the list. That "honest" broker just wanted me to "trust" him and go with what he was selling (granted it was a good boat kept in freshwater) - sorry I do not play that game - too long in the professional sales for that kind of stick. I will do my homework and buy when I am ready. If the boat is gone - there are plenty of others....
Sorry to get off on to a tangent. But that guy was as arrogant as they come!! Made a real impression on me for sure! Made me very nervous about brokers in the powerboat world.
In the end, my wife must be happy living on the boat - she is a true bluewater sailor and boat life is something she enjoys (I married well) - but she likes her comfort. Hence we have been in the over 46 foot range. Having enclosed (eisenglass) flybridge and sundeck really appeals to her. That is why some of the Hatteras MY's are still on the list - they are very live-able. However, fuel burn is a concern - hence the LRC's....but if I have to - a MY will work. Hatteras LRC's are a bit hard to find.
However, I am open to all advice and look forward to seeing the alternatives you guys will present.
Hope this helps....
I really do appreciate your help - this world is very different from the sailboat world.