Originally Posted by Sarah G
Would you want to go to the IoW from say Chichester in anything less than 6.0m?
Originally Posted by Biggles
Plenty of people do it in a 4 meter. Even in rough weather.
It's certainly possible in a 4m RIB, but unlikely to be a whole lot of fun unless conditions are pretty good. It's not something that many people would want to do frequently.
If you can stretch to 6.5m then that's great. You could certainly manage with something a bit smaller than 6m though; 5.5 to 6 metres would be fine.
ADS's recommendation of a Ribcraft 585 would definitely serve you well. You'd be OK with a 5.3 Ribcraft but would probably want something a bit bigger after a while.
Inboard really isn't a likely option for your size range and budget, but you don't need a massive outboard. Generally speaking the newer the motor, the better the fuel consumption. Lots of people are putting 140hp on 585s, but for most cruising a 90 is more than adequate so don't overlook boats with modest power (you may also pick one up cheaper because they are seen as less desirable.
There are plenty of capable boats around and the "best" one is really a matter of personal taste. Take your time and find something that you are comfortable with. Ideally try a few boats out before you buy - ask around here and you'll probably get a few offers of test rides in other people's boats.