Originally Posted by benajah
This is the OP. I certainly appreciate your advice, but I have to disagree. I am asking about the current market in sailboats, and while I don't know much about them, I grew up working on commercial fishing boats off the coast of southern NC, with a whole lot of shrimpers, and charter boats and there were a lot of boats that went down because they were 40, 50 years old, had major failings that went unseen, cracked ribs for instance. Hull failures because nobody saw the problem for 30 yrs then tried to put the boat through the wrong storm.
Good life jackets don't help there, and that is the question I am asking mainly, can I get a good hull, I have a 1 year old daughter. I want a safe hull and rigging.
Many of the old fiberglass boats 30 to 50 years old have hulls that are stronger than the new ones and have designs that are sea worthy, more so than many of the new boats that are designed for lots of space below with a nice interior and sleek look, but would be a challenge in a hurricane. Lin and Larry Pardey have written a book, Storm Tactics Handbook, where they describe hurricanes they have experienced in a sailboat the size you are interested and had a rather easy time of it. They did not have much in the way of safety gear that I could tell, but they spent their life with sailboats and made a living at it writing, doing maintenance for others, and delivery work. What I find interesting about their books is the thought and research they put into safety. If all boaters were as careful as they, the Coast Guard would have a smaller budget. You should spend a year reading about sailboats, doing research online, talking to the secretary of boat owner associations you are interested in. Join yacht clubs and talk, offer to crew on sailboats you like, take classes, look at sailboats. Part of the fun is in the process.
Don Casey, the author of This Old Boat, has written a number of books on sailboat repairs. You should get a copy of Inspecting the Aging Sailboat at $14.95 list, or else get three books in one, his Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual: Including Inspecting the Aging Sailboat, Sailboat Hull and Deck Repair, Sailboat Refinishing... List Price: $59.95. Among other things, hull and rigging inspection with an eye for safety are there in his books. For the amount of money you intend to spend, do your own inspection and winnow out the misfits before you hire a surveyor that’s going to cost you some money.
I am sure there are 50 year old fishing boats that are properly maintained and operated in a safe and thoughtful manner that you would have crewed on without hesitation, and much newer fishing boats you would want nothing to do with. Same goes for sailboats.
One final thought from The Voyager’s Handbook by Beth Leonard (574 pages on 8X11 inch paper, rather fine print, with a lot of sensible info) “But infants turn into toddlers quickly, and toddlers are not as well suited to life aboard. Toddlers are too young to understand why they can’t play with the gimbaled stove and too old to say where you put them. Their mobility is astonishing, their curiosity unquenchable. To keep toddlers safe, you must child proof an area of your boat and never leave them unattended on deck…Pre school-age children are more flexible and often adapt more quickly than older children. They can be taught to swim and understand the word no!” So, here is another reason to take your time on buying and repairing the sailboat, get the baby past the terrable twos before sailing. Beth Leonard also has a lot of info on the expenses of owning a sailboat that's carefully thoughout.