There are some really good books
that go through things to look for in sailboats, easy to understadn and read. Check the library or look on line.
My first boat was a 25' Cheoy Lee
, I bought it in the water
in San Diego
and never had it inspected or dove, I was comfortable with my own research
to know what to look for. I paid $4500.
My second boat is a currently a 37' Ketch
, paid $3500 in 2007, and sailed it after 3 weeks of work. It was in a yard so I inspected it very closely for a couple months before making an offer to buy. Again, I did my own research
If you buy a boat in the water
then take a look at how it looks under (magnesium anodes in fresh water, zinc anodes in salt
water). IF left without anodes you can get deterioration (electrolysis) to the exposed hardware
underwater. See if it needs antifouling paint
right away or if its good for 2 more years and does it show blisters
through the wetted surface.
If its on the dry then look for the same stuff but you can make a closer inspection and easier.
If you are buying
a wood boat then definately inspect the wood closely and if its been out of the water for a long time then the hull
planks can shrink and it will leak like a seive in the water until it soaks water again.
Check for dry-rotted sails
. Just try to push your finger threw it or pull on it like trying to tear a t-shirt...if its rotten it will tear. Dont worry about hurting the feelings of the owner because if the sails rotten...its no good anyway and he may not even know it.
If you find anything and have concerns then take a picture and post it here or email
it to somebody for opinion.
I agree with Callmecrazy the cosmetics are dependent on your opinion.
Rusty bolts and screw, improper materials used to make modifications or repairs
should be evaluated closely. Your looking at a smaller, simple type of a boat with limited systems and little initial expense, so dont fret it too much and enjoy the process of getting your first boat and exploring. Then go sailing and enjoy improving things as you go.