For those of you who have made the plunge and bought an older boat, what has been your experience? What are the pitfalls? What have you had to pay for and what have you been to fix yourselves? And what boats really hold up that long?
My boat is 34 years old. Bought a couple years ago. Did have a survey done and nothing major was found. Boat has circumnavigated and from past owners reports, has been knocked down (mast in the water) and has seen winds to 80 knots and seas to 40 feet. Boat is solid and as far as I can tell, most of the rig (except for wire), mast, boom, hardware is all original. With little effort the boat would be ready for another circumnavigation.
Since I have had the boat, things done include: replacing all seacocks, hoses, belts, clamps, inpeller, wiring on engine, reglassing some rotted core at the bow cleats and anchor locker hatch, redoing the bilge pumps, installing a dam so that shaft packing leakage does not get to keel bolts, completely rewiring interior. Next on the list is to replace all standing rigging wire and turnbuckles and any questionable rig parts. Also plan to clean rust off engine and repaint. A few years down the road I will repaint deck and topside of hull as well as mast and boom. After that she should be good for 10 years or so without major issues (I hope at least). Also plan to add solent stay or maybe inner forestay with runners to set storm jib and as a back up in case of forestay failure.
Boat has solid glass hull with plywood core deck and lead keel with stainless keel bolts. Mast is oversized masthead rig with single spreader, and forward and aft lowers as well as baby forward stay.
I too look at some of the new boats and say they "look" nice in the pictures, but not for me. I think, if you need to get to say a hose or a wire, how would that be done. These new boats look to be built like a lot of cars today- no way to easily maintain them. But then these boats are not made for someone like me. My newest car is a 1991, do all the work on it myself. These new boats are made for someone with a good cash flow, and for someone with no time to do the work themselves. These people drive a car less than 3 years old (probably a leased car). But then these new boats are what keeps the economy going and keep people employed.