I agree that I might be better off getting a newer lighter boat than a heavier boat with 30 years worth of issues. I’m trying to find the line in the middle; an older hull in good condition worth putting some energy and money into.
Just a good hull can still bleed you to death with all the attachments. A neglected boat always has lots of surprises ahead. Many big ones don't show up for a year. All the stuff attached is worth way more than the hull and is hard to fix. Fiberglass
as a rule
is always fixable.
If you are on a budget
and trying to stay in the $30K range it is easy to rack up another $20K finishing the boat. 20% or more can easily be added to an older boat that starts out looking pretty good. The newer boats are going to cost that much more plus. If you are on a tight budget
then you need to forget design quality because you can't afford the reasons it was available too cheap
. Never take a free boat!
The fun part is trying to find the right boat in the right condition, location and cost.
Location has extra costs. You might end up with an extra $2K just in running around. You also have the risk of having to effect needed repairs
in a strange place in a hurry to get it back to a place where you want to do the work you know you have to do. Far away surprises always cost $1000 or more.
We got our first boat by studying available boats close by, doing some research
on YachtWorld, and reading in places like CF (this was before CF). We were happy with the boat but we got a lot surprises. We were smarter with the second boat and we got surprises too.
To begin you look at some boats close to home and basically learn how to look at boats. Take notes and get smarter. Sooner or later you find something worth surveying. Investigate the boats you find for sale
then go look at one. Crawling around 10 boats is a good education if approached with preparation.
The other approach is to compute the perfect boat then go to the ends of the earth to find it. This approach takes longer, chews up a lot of time, and eats a ton of money. You then run the risk of a computation error and wasted a lot of time.
I agree that I might be better off getting a newer lighter boat than a heavier boat with 30 years worth of issues.
I don't think there is any hard and fast rules about that. A boat neglected for 5 years could be your worst nightmare. You may be better off looking at 27 to 28 ft boats. Smaller boats are cheaper to own and fix. They have less stuff on them and the stuff is cheaper than the big boat stuff. It depends on what you find for sale