Here's what I would look for in your situation. You want something that you practice and learn on for a year or two for the minimum investment.
That goal implies that you don't want something that you spend time and money
fixing instead of sailing. So give a very careful look at the things that need to work to get you on the water
. Will it crank when you turn the key, go into gear
and get you away from the dock
? Do whatever it takes to make sure you aren't buying
. If you aren't qualified then get a buddy who is or pay a mechanic
a few bucks to check it out.
2. Rig. Check the wires, especially the fittings on the end to make sure the mast
will stay attached to the boat. Also very closely inspect the chain plates, the bolts that attach them to the boat and the bulkheads where they are attached. Don't forget the one at the bow where the forestay attaches.
. OK you are going out to win any races but trying to sail with totally blown out sails
is a drag. First just look at them to see if they superficially look old, stained and ragged. Look at the stitches, especially in areas where the sail may chafe, areas of high stress, etc. Hoist the sails and look to see if they have a smooth curve when trimmed and sailing.
. Make sure the rudder
and bearings are tight. Not a lot of slack anywhere in the system.
5. Hoses and through hulls. Make sure these are all in good condition and the seacocks open and close. Good boat doesn't do any good if a hose pops and the boat sinks at the dock
6. For your plans maybe not as important unless it got really, really bad. Most boats the decks are built in a sandwich with plywood
or balsa between layers of fiberglass
. Works great until you start drilling holes in it to mount winches and tracks and such. Over time water can leak in and rot
the wood core
. If you're keeping the boat this is a problem. If you want it for a year or so if the core rot
isn't too bad and the decks are not delaminating I wouldn't worry about it. But I would point it out to the seller and lower the price
For a learner most of the rest is just extras.