Can anybody help me with a future decision on what makes a good ocean going boat a good ocean going boat? I've got the impression that Hunters (and Catalinas, etc..) are not well thought of in the blue water, ocean passage kind of light...so if others are, why, and what makes them so much better? I'm looking to spend somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 cash and am wanting as new, well equiped, stong, and has at least 2 permant beds and possibly 3 (without making out the dinette). Thanks everybody, and please help...I'm really ignorant with all of this.
Based on your desire to "sail around the world" you should be looking for a full keel double-ender with a deep draft. There are basically three types of sailing boats: coastal/marina cruisers (like the Gulfstars) which are canoe bottom and fast but not very stable in big winds and heavy seas that you find out there 1000 nm from land; then there are "island boats" which are more "wineglass shaped" hulls with moderate draft (like the Tartan's, Pearson's, Beneteau's and Catalina's etc., etc.) which compromise between speed, nimbleness and ocean stablility; finally there are "ocean sailboats (sometimes referred to as "green water" sailboats), These are the heavy displacement, doublenders with "barn door" rudders and deep keels. These boats generally go one way only - forward in any type of seas and winds. They are notably slower than the others but the stable ride for weeks or months while crossing oceans is their big attraction.
You can "sail around the world" in any of the three types and lots of folks have done so - but there is a lot more work and risk to the faster, more nimble boats versus the highly stable "green water" boats. If you are looking for some good "round the world" boats, try places like the various Caribbean islands; Trinidad; and Central American areas where a lot of heavy displacement, proven ocean boats are available with really economical prices.
Prices in anything over 35ft will probably but high than your "budget" which means only one cabin berth and a main salon bunk for guests. But even more importantly you need to factor in to your budget that you will most probably spend up an amount of money equal to the whole purchase price of a used boat to re-fit and make the boat seaworthy again. A used boat is sold because the owners can no longer afford it; lost interest in it; or just do not want to spend the money to keep it in shape. Long periods of storage and/or lack of use results in significant degradation of the boat's systems all of which must be replaced or overhauled to make the boat seaworthy again. Bottom line - only about half of the money you will spend goes to actually buying the boat.
If you want a blue (or as some say green) water boat, there are lots of them, but not all are suitable for a circumnavigation. You didn't say where you are or how you will really sail, but if your sailing plans are to venture a few hundred miles out to places like Burmuda from the East Coast; Isla Murjes or Vera Cruz from the Texas Coast, or just wandering from island to island in the stream, there are lots of great boats in your price range: double enders like West Sails - which can take you anywhere or the lighter, slightly faster boats that are strong and seaworthy like Cape Dory, Bristol and Pacific Seacraft. As you've heard, stay away from the Hunters, Catalinas, Bayliners, etc. while they are great boats, they not meant to venture into harms way.
Paloma, '79 Bristol 29.9, berthed at Bahia Marina - easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
I have lived and cruised aboard a multihull for more than 20 years. Multihulls offer comfort with more room aboard both on deck and below, faster speed and shallow draft which is important for places like the Bahamas. ...Jim
I know this is going to be contrary to what you will hear from a lot of other folks, but look for a boat that is fast and sails well in a variety of conditions. The idea that you need a slow full keel boat, that needs 25 knots of wind to reach hull speed, in order to be safe is just silly. Take a look at the open 60s that are raced in far worse conidtions than you are likely to ever encounter.
Fast and nimble boats have all sorts of advantages. You will spend a lot less time motoring and a lot less time cursing the lack of wind. You will also be able to make passages more quickly and confidently. There are lots of boats that you could find in your price range, there is even one Catalina I would suggest you take a look at. The Catalina 38 is an excellent Sparmans and Stephens design. It sails well, and it won't take you 9 months to get from Newport to Bermuda.