Maddie, Welcome to Sailnet. Sailnet is a treasure chest of information-don't hesitate to ask anything! I've lived aboard for 6 out of 12 months for the last nine years. We have a 1983, 37 foot boat we bought 12 years ago. We've replaced standing and running rigging, electronics and have re-powered. I've been very fortunate to have the time to be a hands on owner and feel like I know our boat inside and out. We started with a solid, well built boat that we purchased from the original owners. Take your time shopping. With your budget you will have to shop for an older boat. Get a good boat survey and an engine survey. Be realistic about your budget and what you can spend for improvements and upgrades. You might be better off starting out with a well built boat, but a pretty bare one. And then add something every year. Learn from others, take classes and be prepared to get your nails dirty. The more you can do yourself the more money you can save but more importantly the better you'll know your boat. Shop, shop and shop some more. There are bargains out there, but you have to be patient to find them. Have fun and good luck!
"The God's do not subtract from man's
(or woman's) allotted time the hours spent in sailing."