Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Iraq (landlocked)
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Not to sound like a sexist or stereotyping, I suggest learning as much in maintenance and upkeep as you can along with learning to sail. Being an inexperienced female sailor, and one it sounds might be pursuing her new interest "solo", you'll be prey to being taken advantage of when it comes to having repairs done. Now, if you're capable of doing or learning to do your own boat repairs, then disregard this post. Not that you have to know "how" to repair a boat, but know when a repair is warranted and hopefully having an idea to the extent of labor or cost involved will minimize the chance of getting shafted. This comes from a professional mechanic- not that I've taken advantage of people, but I've seen first hand how even men, as well as women, pay exorbenant (sp?) amounts of money for repairs, and even often unneeded ones, and not just on vehicles, but home repairs, appliances, you name it.
I say this because you mentioned a '78 model, which obviously has some age on it. Putting the whole "this is what my budget can afford" discussion aside, older boats need attention. Nothing wrong with buying an older vessel, just ensure you might one that's been well maintained. After all, you want to spend your time sailing and not fixing.
In my shopping and researching used boats, I'm discovering practically everything in the boat world cost a premium, except maybe the initial purchase of a boat (used of course). Thankfully, I have a skillset where I can perform my own repairs, should I choose to. Frankly, I don't want to have to deal w/ repairs to begin with, so my search criteria will have "little needed maintenance" high on the list.
Just food for thought. The trips between Astoria and Vancouver sound lovely.