Firstly, welcome to ribnet!
That's one of these nice open questions that will generate as many answers as peple who answer it! I guess there are a few things which will help steer you towards the right craft:
- Cruising - how far do you plamn to go in a day, do you want to do overnight stops? (i.e how fast does it need to go & does it need a cabin?)
- "Family cruising" - how many? Ages ? experience? If it's once every third eclipse of the sun & they are big & ugly enough to sit on the toobs, you won't need as big a boat for the fact you are alone or only a coupe of you most of the time versus taking 4 kids with you every weekend.
- "easy to launch & recover" - Light would be a good start, but a sizeable chunk of that equation is down to the trailer - My current rib was on a trailer that needed three people (one in waders) to get it on / off the trailer into the water. I replaced the trailer, same boat, and can now do it single handed without even unhitching from the car 90% of the time.
- Easy to tow again is mostly down to the trailer setup, and again depending on your car, the weight may become a significant factor.
Ribs are good for blasting through pretty much any sort of rubbish the weather will throw at you, and something i nthe sub 5m length will likely be able to be handled easily by you & one other but at the same time because of the tubes the interior space versus a solid boat of the same footprint will be significantly less.
So, to help our advisers, here's a few questions:
- what's the max. tow weight of your car? (written in the handbook)
- how many people do you recokon you'll have at any one time?
- How far do you envisage going?
- I guess you have been afloat before, what's your previous craft experience (anything you liked before?)
If you haven't been out in a rib before, might be worth finding a local sailing school & see if they'll either hire you a rib for a couple of hours, and see if it's what you think it will be. Not wishing to speak on behalf of our Irish colleagues here, but maybe could volunteer to crew for one of them on a cruise if ther'es a spare seat?
You may find if most of your boating is on inland lakes, a SIB might be a better bet - they have a lot less draught, and are substantially lighter.