Owner 4knot sb.
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: East Stroudsburg, PA
Thanked 95 Times in 91 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Ok, $4k is a trailer sailor. Here is what you look at... Rigging, look for bends, kinks, frays. Chainplates... Look for rust, and look closely at bolts. Look at Keel bolts. Check the hull for integrity. Look for cracks around any through-hulls, including the scuppers.
Check mast step, for cracks, and leaks at bolts. Also have owner roll out the sails for you on clean (hopefully dry) ground.
Check scrapes/scratches in the hull, especially if below the waterline. This would indicate poor seamanship by a previous owner, or at least, poor treatment was received by the boat.
You can assess the condition of the boat fairly quickly with these things. NO it isn't 100%. However, care in one area, generally gives rise to care in most areas.
Now you are looking at a trailer sailor, so the TRAILER needs inspection before you move the boat. Tires TIRES TIRES... Don't move dry rot. Wear on outter edges is a pain, but not the end of the world. However if edges are worn, you may need to jack up the trailer, and spin a wheel or two. Test the bearings. If there are bearing buddies, grease them! Now lights... Look up to the trailer, or have the owner hook up. Have them test the lights. RARELY do people EVER have the lights right for you. Bonus if they do, because they probably actually took the time and cared enough. If the trailer has brakes (in our state it is supposed to over 3000lbs net). Pop a wheel off and check them. Also check the surge mechanism is free and clear.
I JUST bought my boat on the hard, on a trailer. It was a Capri 22, a 1989. Good deals can be had, as mine was. I considered the Hunter 23 as well (seems like a great boat).
For the record... I pulled away, with no brakes, and no lights. The lights turned out to be a quirk with my truck... and I own a RAM 2500... I regularly tow 5000+ lbs (horse trailer) and have brandy new brakes on my truck. The trailer brakes don't work as it has a busted brake line... However the boat was VERY well equipped.
Good luck, and please post pictures of your new ride if you get it!