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"Lightly used" or "well maintained"
I'll throw this open for discussion and see if there are any takers:
All things being roughly equal--same age (say 1990), model (30-ft Catalina), price (~$25K), location (Chesapeake), etc.--which do you think would be a better buy for the money--a "lightly used" boat or one that has been "sailed a lot" but responsibly maintained. For the purposes of discussion, assume that a survey of each turned up no major problems.
A couple of things I can think of off the top of my head:
--you may need to buy a lot of gear for the lightly used, whereas the well used may be better equipped and the previous owner may have updated and added the things that a barebones boat doesn't have.
--is a lightly used engine that is fired up once in a while but has then sat around for most of its life really better than one that has been exercised and maintained regularly? I know that mechanical things like engines like to be run.
--if a boat has really been used very little over a 20-year period, are there systems, parts, etc. that are just waiting to give out once you start using them? More so than one that has been updated regularly?
I've been on a sailing hiatus for a number of years and am looking to get back into the sport and am in a position to buy a boat. At least half the battle, of course, is to figure out what would work for my situation and how to keep the $'s reasonable, especially the maintenance costs. I'm looking for a weekend and occasional week-long cruiser for a family of three on the Chesapeake.