Advice for a novice...
I have posted a version of this to a local fellow in the "seeking assistance in boat buying" thread, but I thought I'd go ahead and share this with the full group for input.
I have read many, many postings on this site and am about to do the exact opposite of what the consensus thinks is sensible. I am about to buy a "cheap" boat without a formal survey, because I don't want it get away. Talk me out of it?
Background: My small family and I live just outside Ithaca, and in the three years we've lived here I've been dying to get out on Cayuga Lake. I am by no means a skilled sailor. I crewed on some small boats around ten years ago, but have always wanted to get back into this stuff. I am 52, not all that athletic, and have limited time for more than routine maintenance. I don't have a ton of money to devote to this until and unless it becomes the all consuming passion for me like it is for many of you. I envision taking her out once or twice a week during the summer for a couple of hours and two or three overnights for the three of us. I am just under 6' tall. I have no ambition to race or blue water. I do have a nice slip not far from our home.
I am looking for an inexpensive but functional boat that I can run for a year to assess how much I like the sport now that I'm older, and how much my wife (total novice but very game) and kid (5 years old) take to sailing. What I want: Big enough for us to sleep in comfortably. Headroom in the cabin is a huge advantage. No major headaches for simple running as I describe.
I have found a 1975 Grampian 26 out of the water that looks very good. It's only been for sale a few days. Mast is down, but 9.9 Evinrude outboard looks good, as does the bottom and mahogany interior. Full 6'+ headroom in the cabin. Sails are original, but look pretty good as far as I can tell, and honest-seeming seller says they are fine. Chainplates are solid, deck has no spongey spots I can find.
Problems: Minor bend in rudder shaft. Still functional. Problems with the head, currently disconnected. Running lights have some issues, cabin lights are fine. Looks like most extras are there, limiting the $$ I will need to put out for that stuff.
Price: $3,000, including putting in the water.
I've done tons of research, and this seems like a great deal for a big enough, quite stable cruiser for the family to test out for a year. What should be my next steps? Get my head examined and wait for the next "great deal"?
Thanks, and sorry to be so long winded!