This is really funny
: I just sold a Honda
and bought an Endeavor 32, so my entry has to fall under the general category of "Anything is possible". Granted, it was a great Honda and a pretty old boat (1979 and butt-ugly colored), but still. I sold the CRV for 4000. As luck would have it, I'd been watching Craigslist for a reasonably priced cruising boat here on the Maine
coast (there are hundreds). When I saw an Endeavor 32 drop from 11k to 7k, I went to take a look. I'd been looking at any number of used boats (Cape Dory's, Bristols, Allieds, and so on--my dad owned a Seawind
II), and I have to say that the Endeavor was, in contrast, built like the proverbial 'BSH'--nothing fancy but certainly a 'tank' and just what I was looking for--a coastal sailor I could take south, modify without cringing, and not worry over too much. Beautiful woodwork below and roomy. Needs a good cleaning
. No crazing or hull
problems. Solid as a rock. What a find--she'd been well-cared for, wrapped every winter, and refitted with a new Yanmar
MGM30--a diamond-in-the-rough. The first owner (I'm the third) paid 23k for the boat in 2001. Good sails
and a dink, to boot. I was psyched. I was even more thrilled when I offered 4k for the boat, which the seller (representing, sadly, the estate of his deceased best friend) took the offer for a variety of reasons--it was off season (November in Maine); he was burned out at closing an old, drawn out affair; the boat was in a remote
location which limited the numbers of viewers; this older model boat is no rock star of a cruiser; etc. I got lucky, for sure. And anyone can get lucky with a little work.
Moral of the story--yes it's possible. My theory on finding a boat is that you have to go where there are a lot of boats, first. This may seem obvious, but it is easier to find a deal on the coast than inland. Plus, you can strike quickly, low-ball it, and wait it out. Don't get overzealous and buy the first thing that looks good.
In general, avoid brokered boats--you'll get more latitude with the owner. That's not to say that a search on Yachtworld (for ex., "fiberglass, sail, 1970-85, 10k or less, regional location") won't turn up dozens of interesting hits! I looked at 100 boats or so before buying
this one. Compare and become knowledgeable by cross-referencing on Yachtworld.com. Advertise on Craigslist, too. Read up on boats in general, and if you can't afford a surveyor
(results and acumen vary, trust me), have a friend who knows a lot more than you do take a look. Show up quickly as good boats will move fast. Your boat is out there.
Then, all ya' have to do is 'do it'.
Regards and good fortune!
"Date wood, but marry fiberglass"