TLC vs. Almost new
Saturday @ 12 usable hours + Sunday @ 12 usable hours = (+/-) 24 weekend hours.
How many of those hours do you want to spend working on a boat, and how many do you want to spend sailing?
Know yourself. I''m not much of a "putterer." I understand there is constant maintenance to do and improvements to make, which can be satisfying in themselves, but if the work/sail ratio tips in the wrong direction to far or for too long, I begin to see the boat as a burden instead of a vehicle of recreation and self-discovery.
Other considerations being equal, at purchase time, I''d rather spend what I can actually afford (try not to be unnecessarily stingy) than a project. My motto would be "penny wise, recreation foolish."
But that''s just my personality, and me knowing my own limitations. Each sailor derives his satisfaction his own way, and you might be completely different. Some guys are happy spending weekend after weeekend sanding, varnishing, replacing, tinkering, rebuilding, etc. I see them as I motor in and out of my slip. I never see them out on the water.
Thinking about how you approach maintenance on your car may be helpful: I''ll turn a wrench now and then, and changing oil and plugs, or even installing a stereo, is enjoyable. But I''m way past the point in my life where I think dropping an engine is anything close to "fun."
Now I write checks to my mechanic, and I''m happy to do it.
A boat requires much more and much more constant attention than any car you''ve owned.