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I read a great book a few years ago called " First you need to row a little boat" It was a mans reflection on his life but the title says it all. You need to learn the basics of boat handling, seamenship, how weather affect the water and your boat, safety, etc, before stepping onto something that may be too big or overwhelming to handle. I would go smaller,21-23 a good size for the bays yet big enough to handle some chop. I would then take it out with experienced friends w/o the wife and kids, til I knew thew area and the boat enough to safely bring them.
Make sure you are commited to the time it takes to learn how to handle a boat. How it turns. How dock it in the wind etc. Once you feel confident and have used the boat, then if you desire a bigger boat, trade up.

The last 2 boats I bought were both from guys who wanted a boat, had $,and had little experience. After a few outings, they became frustrated and ended up selling AT A BIG DISCOUNT!. Good for me, bad for them. Take your time, ask as many questions on this site as you want. You will find the wealth of knowledge unbelieveable and the advice pricelss. and its FREE!.

Best of luck and look foward to hearing from you.

Ps. Bought my first power boat at 14,have owned over 15 differnt boats and earned my captains license when I turned 18. When my wife asked me what would have happened if she didn't like boating? I told her we wouldn't have gotten married. Once its in your blood, it never leaves.
 

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I've heard bad things about those engines. I could be wrong, but the FICHT engines had big problems from what I hear. Check into that further.


Otherwise, sounds like a lot of boat for the money (which isn't necessarily better).
 

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Also keep in mind that a tall walk around like that one you mentioned is like a sail in the wind. They are tricky to manuever around docks. Not a bad choice once you are comfortable with boat handeling but not my first choice for a beginner. Sounds like your wife and kids will not be of much help around a dock so your going to do the docking, running up to the bow to tie the bow lines, spring lines, run back to tie the stern lines, etc. Well you get the idea. I own a 28 walk around and have been running a boat for over 30 years. Believe me, when you need to back into a slip with a cross wind and full canvas up, your going to wish you had a center console.

Also, where will you dock it. Broadside docking like the one you're looking at ( I found it online I think) is great for that boat but bow in is a PITA when your wife and small children have to climb over a bow rail. Backing in usually isn't an option with outboards sticking out.

I'm sure I'll think of more stuff.
 

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The biggest difference b/w a 23 and 26 is probably the point where you go from 1 engine to 2, unless you are talking inboards, or IO's.

I am curious to see if others can chime in on the FICHT engines. I've heard very bad things about them and they basically put OMC out of business as we knew it due to waranty repairs. I did not own one though so I have no first hand experience. I could be wrong though.
Anyone know for sure on the FICHT issues?
 
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