Thank you all for your input. I would guess that if there was an alternative to keeping up wood with varnish it would be the standard instead. Mostly I was just looking at the "why not?" I have no problem with putting in the time and effort to keep up the brightwork in the right way and I generally detest "faster" "easier" methods for doing things because more often than not they compromise quality and are superficial solutions. Sometimes it's nice to bounce ideas off of other people though.
And John, that is an absolutely beautiful boat! Very inspirational.
Unfortunately the boat I was looking at has a layer of glass over the 1" mahogany hull. I was talking to someone about it earlier today and they mentioned that the wood can rot out, if the glass is compromised in any way, without you even knowing it. Bummer, because the boat is in need of some cleaning and other work but otherwise could be just what I am looking for. Think I am going to pass though. You can check it with the link below if you like. I think it's probably priced about $5K too high too.
seattle. craigslist. org /see/boa/770247628. html