Thanks for your excellent advice and support. I think this process may work, if I plan it right. Because it's unlikely to find a well-outfitted boat, ready to go, I have kept my purchase price-range pretty low. Of course, $20K is better than $25K
My plan is to live aboard at a CA marina while working on the boat, depending on when it's purchased, from about September-February (not this year though) -- so, I have time. That said, anywhere on the West Coast is not completely out of the question (though the winter weather up north would be an issue).
I will budget $10K for outfitting, though this could be a lowball figure. I would need a fairly shipshape boat, to start.
Would do shakedown coastal cruises, and when ready head for Hawaii by late Feb. I think a Pacific voyage would have to commence by about May 1, latest, from Hawaii. These dates could be moved earlier by a month -- I'm musing on a latest departure here.
Another option would be to purchase a boat in Hawaii and do inter-island shakedowns. But as has been pointed out, dry-dock facilities are quite costly, and the market is also limited. In any case, I will have about a year free.
Just now, I am contemplating just how crazy or impossible my scheme really is. I would need some luck and good fortune, I believe.