Originally Posted by KeelHaulin
To do what you suggest is asking for trouble. You could go sailing and have the rig come down and injure or kill someone if it is in disrepair, or have an engine fire, fuel fire, electrical fire, etc. There are lots of ways to end up dead (like sinking in the Pacific). Wise buyers choose boats that are reasonably well looked after, and if not know how to fix whatever is wrong.
I agree with the latter bit! When it comes to safety, you should bring your full faculties to bear. You need a plan to make sure that whatever happens, the risks will be acceptable to you.
But I think buyers will find that the market is just brimming with boats at all price levels that are perfectly safe. In my case, the fact the boat was purchased unpowered and has a substantially simple electrical system mitigated much of the risk. A professional survey two month prior gave us at least a basic confidence in the standing rigging.
Money doesn't buy safety.
Obviously a boat with certain kinds of problems is just going to be no good. But I think the lions share of safety comes from using the right kind of safety equipment, which is relatively cheap, and good seamanship. Rig failure and sinking are risks even on the best yacht; safety comes from being prepared, and having a plan that will work when these things happen.
So I stand by my advice that the best thing to do is just to get a boat and get some nautical miles under your keel--while still keeping all of your wits about you.
(Of course, I am truly a beginner, so if I end up sinking in the Pacific and having my mast-crunched, hypothermic body eaten by sharks, a good round of we-told-you-so may be in order. Other beginners should take this into account before listening to my advice, or anyone else's.)