Originally Posted by jimgo
LakeMI, if you go read some of my other posts, you'll see that I'm usually the guy arguing to buy the cheap boat. In this case, though, I think you're setting yourself up for a bad experience. Trust me, I'm all about finding the diamond in the rough. But have you looked into what it will cost (in time, tools, and dollars) to fix that spongy floor? When/where will you work on it? If you don't fix it, what are the ramifications?
Then there are the sink, sails, potty, and cushions. For your purposes right now, I think you're better off assuming those things are gone, though given the seller's representation about the jib, maybe assume that it's there. You're looking at a new mainsail (easily $1200-1500 new, but you can go used for $500-600 for a decent sail that should last you several seasons). New cushions aren't cheap, even if you DIY. As pointed out above, you're at LEAST at $1000 for a full set if you do it yourself.
Does the boat have a bimini, dodger, or other canvas? How is the sail cover? Does the jib have a sacrificial cover? If so, what is the condition for all of those things? How about the anchor?
Even if you get the boat for free, you're going to put close to the boat's value into just getting it seaworthy and safe for your family. As I said before, I'm all for finding the diamond in the rough. I believe I've done it twice, but to find these two boats, I literally was aboard 40-50 boats, and traveled up to a six hour drive from my home. I was everywhere from Long Island, NY to Norfolk, VA, and saw just about every boat for sale within my price range (and some that were outside my budget). I also completely understand how you feel about the excitement of owning your own boat. What I want for you is the excitement of you owning your own boat and having your family enjoy it from day 1 (or close to it). Right now, with this boat, it doesn't sound like that's going to happen. Take your time, and find a boat that has good bones. One without soft spots, with cushions (even if they aren't in the best shape), and a sink, and a toilet of some sort, and sails that you can easily inspect.
The reason I suggested posting the pictures is to let us help you pick apart this boat. If it already doesn't speak to you, let us help you get a sense of the other stuff that might be wrong. Yeah, some of us may be a bit brutal (you were actually considering owning this boat, so...), but it will be a good exercise for you.
In the end, I respect that it's your money, your family, and your boat. I respectfully suggest that this isn't the boat for you, but in the end, its your decision. If you do get her, hopefully you'll stick around and ask lots of questions, because in our own way, we all want your experience to be a success.