Join Date: Jan 2007
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I think your budget is realistic for a boat in the 30 to 33 foot range, and I think that there are many out there that will offer enough room and comfort for the two of you.
The reason I am suggesting that you look at smaller boats is the cost of maintenance. Regardless of which boat you buy, you are going to have to make some fairly significant expenditures on an ongoing basis in order to keep her seaworthy. Even if you buy a boat in perfect condition, within two years, wear and tear will require $ to fix.
As far as the wetness issues go... I don't believe that you will find any used boat out there that has not absorbed some moisture. My personal opinion is that if you buy a hull that is solid glass (not cored anywhere), and if it is in good condition, and if you barrier-coat it, the moisture is a non-issue.
Over time fibreglass absorbs water. It is porous - microscopically so - but still porous. So if the boat has been sitting in the water for six months, it will absorb some moisture and your surveyor will get some type of reading on his/her meter. If there is no core material in the hull, and unless this is a high reading, and unless there is some evidence of blistering or other osmotic decomposition, you can pretty well ignore it.
Wet decks can be frustrating, but can be repaired. You can do it your self or hire a yard to do it. It is unusual for a used boat not to have some dampness in the deck, particularly around fittings, if it is metered while in the water and being used. Sometimes, the dampness will not show up on a meter, but usually there's something somewhere.
There are hundreds of articles and threads on the internet that deal with deck repair techniques, and it would probably be a good idea to take a break from your boat search and spend a couple of weeks studying them so that you can understand a bit better when your surveyor tells you that there is a low to moderate reading on your stem fitting.
I echo SailingDog's suggestion that you keep a good percentage of your budget for upgrades and repairs, so if you have $50,000.00 to spend - it would be a good idea to hold $10,000.00 back to buy new gear, and not pay more than $40,000.00 for your boat.
Also, take time to investigate the costs of slips and insurance in your area, as they can be substantial and you don't want to end up with any surprises.