The odds are this will not be your last boat...
So make sure the engine, decks, and hull are sound, but figure that you will be learning sailing and fixing on her.
Don't worry about hull scrapes - you will be learning docking, and we have ALL goofed that up.
Don't worry over the interior too much. You will re-decorate and you most likely will be day sailing.
Don't worry too much over the rigging. On an older boat you will be fixing and changing anyway. Try to make it sail faster and easier. These will be good lessons for when you buy another boat. Even for non-racers, we ALL need to know how to get the most from our boats in tough weather.
Buy a sound boat, do some fix-up, and you will get back what you paid for her. But don't make a project of it; sail often! Don't fix every thing the first spring; you don't know her or your likes yet. Sail a season, first, fixing only the safety related and basic issues.
(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")
"Well, I just climb up to them."
by Joe Brown, English rock climber
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