When thinking about my sail to New Zealand and Australia in a few years, one of the biggest decisions I will make is the boat. What makes for a solid blue water cruiser? There are many factors to consider:
Reliable self steering
Emergency equipment (life raft, epirb, hand held VHF, etc.)
Communication devices (HF radio, VHF, SAT phone)
Good sleeping accomodations and lee cloths
Lots of storage
The list goes on and on
When the time comes, I plan to be open minded and to look at many boats. My budget is in $100k range so there are lots of possibilities. Check out this site for considerations for your next big cruise. It shows a list and reviews on capable blue water boats.