Re: Tartan(s), Sabre, Pearson(s), C&C(s), Catalina(s) - "Chesapeake Draft"
I happened to read the top of this page and noted that you appear to be moving to a better sailing climate. You considered as far away as California. If you are considering that you might as well consider the Pacific NW. We have no skinny water issues, an inland water system that is as large as the Chesapeake with world class cruising destinations, and great year round sailing with pretty mild temps summer and winter. The wildlife is wonderful here too, just outside of Shilshole Marina (in Seattle) I see porpoises, seals, and sea lions on almost every sail, Orca whales a few times a year, and the salmon have been jumping like crazy for the last few months. It's a bit damp in the winter, but warm enough in good foulies. I don't know anyone who pulls their boat here for the winter.
Moisture: It sounds like that boat does have problems. I wouldn't buy a boat that had moisture issues along the whole deck. At the same time I wouldn't say that it is an endemic issue among Pearsons. I've read other stories of moisture issues just under the toe rail being common on Pearsons, and can explain why that happens.
Diesel: I don't know on engine hours. My engine (stock engine in Pearson 28-2) didn't even come with an hour meter, which made me suspect of meters on other boats with the same engine (Yanmar 2GM20F) which did have them since the meters apparently aren't stock. I could add an engine meter today that claimed my boat had 1000 hours, and that would just be a lie. None of the boats that I looked at had engine meters higher than about 3000 hours.
One way that I can think of it is that 10,000 miles per year on a car is about 350 engine hours at average car speeds of just under 30mph. I wouldn't be excited about the engine a car that had done 323,000 miles in a car (about the equivalent of your 11,320 hours). On the other hand such a boat probably has rigging in amazing shape because it sounds like it was almost never sailed (or the overall boat is extremely tired because it was sailed and cruised every single day). I cruised for 7 weeks this summer and used my boat at least once a week the rest of the year and still put under 200 hours on the engine this year (measured by keeping track of fuel consumed).
Replacing engine mounts on a Yanmar isn't that major of a project. The engine mounts themselves are silly expensive ($100+ ea if I remember correctly). You need to support the engine while removing the old and installing the new ones, then realign the shaft. The engine mount is made with two steel plates that are bonded to a rubber elasometer in the middle. That rubber eventually dries out and fails. A friend with a 1987 boat and Yanmar 3GM30F just replaced his. I have a 1986 2GM20F, don't know if mine are original or not, but they are appear to be in good shape.
boats that I sail on regularly: Pearson 28-2, Rondar 505, Yankee 30, Blanchard Junior