First, heed all the advise in previous posts. All spot on.
I would add, if you want to avoid costly repairs
or maintain resale value in case you decide to trade
up/down in the future here are some things to look out for that could make what looks like a good deal into a bad one.
1. Bad engine
. In a 30-32' boat could be $10,000 to pay a boat yard to install a new engine. Used and DIY you could get by with much less but at the expense of a lot of time.
2. Standing rigging (the wires that hold up the mast). 30-32' sloop
would could be $3000-$5000 to pay a rigger to replace all the wires and associated fittings.
on the bottom. Usually cosmetic but can be serious and structural. Even cosmetic blisters can scare away buyers and reduce resale value. Cost to repair varies a lot depending on the method and material. Paying a yard figure $2000-$3000 for a simple basic repair or double that for a more elaborate job.
4. Soft decks. Could be a deal killer. Many or most boats the deck
is built in a sandwich, fiberglass
inside and out with plywood
, balsa or other material in between. Anywhere you attach things to the deck
like winches, blocks, stanchions, etc that drill through the fiberglass layer into the core
are areas where you might get leaks
and overtime rot
. If serious it would cost more than the boat is worth to repair properly.
5. Bulkheads. Inside the boat the walls between the cabins are structural bulkheads. They will be attached to the hull
of the boat with strips of fiberglass. These could separate or if the bulkheads were wewt due to leaks, the wood itself could be rotten. Another potential deal breaker.
6. Hull to deck joint. Most boats are made in two pieces, hull and deck, then joined together. Lots of different ways to join the two, some better than others. Over time some tend to leak and even separate and, depending on how the boat was put together, may be difficult to repair.
If you find a boat you like and the seller will allow (should not be a problem if the seller is serious), go through the boat and look in all the nooks and crannies. If you can fit climb inside all the lockers and closets look for stains that show water
leaks, look for loose wood or glass parts
, tap on stuff like decks, wood bulkheads, etc to see if it is soft (a dull thud or thunk) or solid (like the sound of tapping a piece of good hardwood, almost a ring).
Then before you buy get a good surveyor
Good luck and welcome to the forum.