We've found our boat! It's been a bit of a journey, with one boat offer falling through after a lengthy process, but it's all worked out.
We've settled on a Beneteau Oceanis 393. Made in 2002, it's no spring-chicken, but it's still everything we could want in a boat. It's been in a charter fleet so it has been well used but also consistently maintained which makes us happy. All along we haven't wanted a fix-up project: we want to get sailing.
Of all the boat layouts we've looked at, we've found that this is the best compromise that will meet our needs with comfort. We had really wanted an L-shaped galley/kitchen, directly down from the companion way (boat door/stairs down), but this style kitchen will have to do. Who knows: we could love it. Or... we could not.
The things we love about this boat are:
Overall, we are thrilled to be in a boat like this. It's a beautiful place to start. Truly, we are so excited to have a boat like this. It's right up our alley: not too showy, but definitely not ugly. Practical but with just a touch of class. All of this is with us not even laying our eyes on her in the flesh (boat flesh? Fiberglass?). It's a big trust jump and we leap off with two feet, splashing into unknown waters. But we're jumping anyways.