SF, you are right on the money (pun intended). It is easy to sink 30k into an old boat. What you get is all new stuff you can depend on: electronics, rigging, etc. that you would have on a new boat (which would lose 30% of its value immediately). So, from my perspective, spending 40k on a good hull to renovate is a good deal if you get satisfaction from the process and go in knowing what you're getting into. If you own her for 10 years and sell for 20k, that's a depreciation of 2k/year, not a bad deal- no debt, no ridiculously expensive hull insurance, no fear that comes with a big investment. Buying a used boat that someone has already fixed up is a good idea as well but everything will be 10+ years old and much in need of renewal already. When I decide to sell my Alberg, the new owner will get a boat that has had the major work done and will get the labor cost essentially for free but that's ok, it's a hobby.
Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.