Thanks for everyone's honesty. It's immensely helpful. I have more questions.
We have a total budget of $20,000.We wanted to spend $10,000 on a boat, and $10,000 on: life raft, electronics, repairs, sails/rigging, possibly a watermaker and solarpanels.
We plan to do an extensive amount of sailing before purchasing, but this is going to be a leap of faith.
Would it be better to spend more money on a boat and save later for the other stuff? Could we make a trip from WA to Mexico spending more on a boat and less on extra stuff? What would be a more appropriate budget? THANKS!
That is a healthy question.
In general two factors to consider when judging boats:
1. Older usually means cheaper and if it has been actually cruised you will find more gear onboard. It also means that you potentially have more maintenance issues depending on the upkeep of such items and the boat itself. So you pay more but maybe save a little on the extras that are included because in reality - additional gear doesn't really equate to much on the resale value in most cases - just allows a boat to stand out over others similarly listed.
2. Finding a boat that you want to upgrade however, is a costly expense - for example - if you have not priced watermakers - they are one of the most expensive pieces of gear to have on board. If I recall correctly somewhere in the 8-12K region and that assumes that its a DIY install. Solar - you are still loking at around 1-3K minimum entry point. Unless you get lucky and find working used condition items.
In the end, you need to find a boat that YOU are comfortable with. Do not by a vessel without spending a few ours test sailing - and get involved in the process. MY approach when buying is to find everything I hate or is troublesome..then after all things are evaluated determine how much of the items I can not stand relate to my sailing habits.
The problem with your question - is there is no right answer. Look for a boat that suits your tastes, habits, and potentially has most of the gear you want upfront. Because every item you add is more time away from sailing - and for a new to you purchase, it can kinda kill both your motivation as well as budget.