OK, like most technical things (I’m a computer support/programmer type for a "day job"), setting the requirements is a fundamental part of design. What does the boat need to do?
A good part of the requirements are based on the type cruising you want to do. Here’s what I see for me now…
- Inland U.S. rivers
- Great loop (Eastern U.S. circumnavigation)
- Great Lakes
Later I would love to get to other destinations:
- European canals
Whether those ever happen or not, well who knows.
So, what do I see here… a boat that I’m going to be aboard for a couple of weeks at a time, to begin with (vacations from work, etc.). Probably not live aboard, although "stay aboard" would be nice (don’t want to pay those hotel bills). Coastal cruising… mostly semi-protected waters. Not going seriously offshore in the shortly foreseeable future. I guess the Bahamas are a possibility, but not really something that I find of great interest (I’m just not a tropical person… I want cooler weather, not warmer).
So, here’s what I’m seeing:
- Berths for 3
- Simple galley
- protected water/coastal cruising
- shallow draft (like to explore coastal areas)
- reasonable air draft (don’t mess with bridge clearance, etc.)
A boat is a series of compromises… you don’t get one boat that is good at everything (well, not in my price range, anyhow) and even the U.S. Navy specializes designs. Aircraft carriers and destroyers are two mighty different boats. I’m sure that if one reasonable design could do everything the Navy needs, then they would use that and gain in standardization.
That being said, building a stout, ocean going vessel (with the trade-offs in size, cost, and especially draft) for mostly inland and protected water cruising doesn’t really make sense. If Alaska came about, well, maybe rent a boat. If European canals came about… well, buy a boat, or ship this one over. Only true passage-making (ocean voyages) requires "Passagemaker" type craft. Although I think it would be fun, I doubt it will be in the cards. If things change enough to support that, then a new boat can be considered.