Re: Looked at the Ranger 26
There is a glut of cheap, decent but neglected, boats out there. Don't settle for the cheapest - find a boat that is complete (can be sailed AND motored away now) and matches your needs. I figured that an extra $1000 in upfront cost of the boat can often save you $5000 in down the road expenses (like replacing an engine).
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.