Choosing the right sailing boat for the type of cruising can be very difficult. It helps though if we break the long list of wants and needs into a few major basics that your type of cruising calls for. I thought I would share this email reply with others as it may be of help.
I found the Shipmate an ideal boat for creek sailing in estuaries. They
have the three basic essentials for a cabin cruiser that are your keys
to enter another world: a lifting rudder, a swinging centreplate and one
foot of draft. On top of that if you are going to spend many nights, as I
do, on board you will prefer a boat that will sit upright in mud when dried out. Some of the
original fittings can be a little flimsy to go to sea with so adaptions
you may have to make yourself - if they have not already been made. You
already have the basics with the Wanderer and I'm quite sure they sail
better to but a dinghy is not a cruiser therefore we have to forgo some
of that performance. The centreplate is controlled from the cockpit
which is very important. With other mods I had adapted her perfectly for
the job. She sailed well both Bermudan, and when I converted her to gaff
and was light enough to paddle, something I do a lot of. I could go
literally anywhere in her (I sure did) and she dried out flat in mud. I
sailed her up and down the coast too but chose the weather wisely as it
can get a bit lively over force four particularly in the local chop for
she was very nimble. If you use an outboard a long shaft can be hung
directly off the transom and is close to hand. Aesthetically they may
not be every ones cup of tea but then they are very affordable, have a
trailer which I could manoeuvre (with her on it) alone by hand and will get you on the
water and cruising.
Additional note: I take a practical and workaday approach to my boats, I have to to get into most of the places I go. They are tools that will help you get from A to B and must be used as such for there will be times when she will get knocked from pillar to post in old wharves, trodden on, splattered in mud daily and dug at by anchor flukes therefore bare this in mind when spending your cash.
If you have an ideal creek sailor and would like to add to this then by all means do using the comment feature below. TS