This boat is very clean and apparently well cared for, professionally maintained,
what is the name of the yard or company that maintained it ?
but on its cradle for the last 7 years and barely used by a day sailor since it came out of the factory - so barely used that the freshwater tank has never been filled and the holding tank has never held anything.
This is very strange. Personally I don't believe it.
First, when I mentioned I wanted a diesel mechanic on board at the sea trial to listen to the engine, the owner revealed to me that the engine vibrates at 1100-1200 RPM's. It's a Volvo Penta 2002. The owner says the engine has always been like this, he simply avoids that RPM range.
You need to get a mechanic to look at it for sure. It could be nothing, it could be loose engine mounts or it could be something quite serious. A new engine will cost you nigh on 15 thousand by time it's installed.
Second, the owner has now indicated to me that the sails are original (e.g. 22 years old) and also that they have tears in them, which have been professionally repaired. Can sails be 22 years old, with repaired tears, and still be good?
Good - no. Passable as back up units - possibly - depends on the tear. New sails - main and genoa - 6 thousand for basic sails from North (I just got a quote) - 10K for state of the art laminates.
It was also found by the surveyor that most of the portlights and hatches leak (it was a rainy day when the surveyor did the inspection). After doing some research I'm willing to try taking on this repair project myself, it doesn't seem too difficult.
Not a difficult thing to repair BUT again it indicates a general lack of maintenance. This had best be a cheap, cheap boat.
There are cracks on the port foredeck where the stanchions were pushed by unhelpful dock hands. The surveyor indicates "slightly dull" soundings around the area and indicated it was essential to repair this area to prevent core rot. Again, after a bit of research I'm not sure this is a difficult repair, though it might be difficult to keep the area cosmetically similar to the rest of the deck.
This is difficult to do yourself. If you screw it up the boat will be pretty well worthless. If the core needs replacing, having it repaired properly will definitely run over 3 and easily over 5 thousand. Then you'll have to paint - another 5 thousand for the deck alone.
Can anyone comment on these issues and whether they are "walk away" sorts of issues? This boat is going for $4k less than what I think it's worth.
Here's what I think it's worth....
A CS30 in very good condition in the GTA sells around 50 thousand assuming it's got all the options, a barrier coat, good sails, decent electronics and is not shoal draft. An average one needing a little work runs between 30 and 40 thousand. The most you should be thinking about paying for this boat is 20 thousand. It will never be worth more than 40 thousand, and based on what you have told us - it's going to cost you about 20 thousand to get it to that point. You'd do far better to take the 40 that you will put into this boat and get something that is in great shape to begin with.
If you're looking for a boat to live on there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a Catalina 30. They have more room than a CS30 and there are excellent deals to be had on them in the US states that border the Great Lakes.