Some years ago, my plan to go long-term cruising was burned by buying
a boat that I thought was good to go, but turned out to be a "project", and more of a project
than I could realistically get done at that time. Anyone who spent any time in a boatyard have seen multiple variations of the same story.
Any boat you buy is likely to take two months of work before you are ready to cruise
it, but some of them will need years. Even with a "professional survey", you will have various unnoticed problems popping up.
Question is, how to manage this risk when buying
a ~32-35ft sailboat of 1970s-80s vintage.
Here are a few examples of wisdom I'm looking for:
* stay away from wooden or metal hulls, teak
decks, cored laminates, especially cored laminates below waterline
* be very careful about wooden bulkheads, stringers or anything else structural; at that age, it's virtually guaranteed to be rotten in some hard to see spot
* prefer boats that were used as weekenders in fresh water
in a cold climate
* carefully study the previous owner, and his motivation to sell; retired craftsman/engineer/merchant mariner who is now too old or to sick to be sailing is the ideal
* stay away from boats that don't have a decent maintenance record
for the last few years;
* stay away from boats that spent more than the last season on the hard
* if the engine
or standing rigging
is old (15 and 5 years, respectively), don't wait for either to fail (at the worst possible time), simply plan to replace them right away
* stay away from boats with original (30+ year old) chainplates - unless they are easy to replace
* a boat should either be from a manufacturer/year that has a track record
of no blisters
, or have a barrier coat already applied
* look for a boat with an interior
plan that works for you; interior
redesign is guaranteed to be a long story
If you know any more, or disagree with any of the above, please share.