Looking at Used Fiberglass Sailboats

I had an idea of the look I wanted in a boat, so I started just going and viewing boats listed for under $30,000 even though my budget was around $20,000. I looked back on emails to find out when I started physically going to look at boats, it seems to start in early 2012 when I was 26.

I save too many emails but I am glad I still have the ones between brokers and craigslist posters. I found one email in which I wrote, “If I was a real grownup I would not be spending my money on a boat at this time in my life”. Glad I did not listen to myself.

I started by going to see the 1972 Tartan 30 (pictured below), which was listed for $15,000 on craigslist in Rhode Island and my eyes were opened to the sudden realization that my limited budget was going to get me a “fixer-upper”. This boat was structurally sound and probably sailed just fine but the interior was water stained from a few years of maintenance neglect. I was smart enough to take a friend with me, who also happens to be a mechanic so it was clear this was not a good fit for me.


Later I went to check out a 1976 Bristol 32 in a backyard in Massachusetts listed for $26,000. Sadly, that one had a brand new engine, but would require a brand new “everything else”. It was sp badly spider cracked everywhere it was probably going to require a new deck among other things, so I would not even have offered $15,000 for it.

I looked at a 1981 Sea Sprite 30 in Maine, but the boat was in decent enough conditionĀ it was listed for too much for my budget.

The 1971 Bristol 30 in Maine was listed for $16,000 and seemed promising, until actually seeing it in person (this time Jay came along with me) and seeing it needed a complete overhaul of everything including a new deck, engine, hardware, interior. Very disappointing as I had started to get excited about this one and after this I was starting to give up on finding something that fit my “project ability” and budget, with classic lines and good sailing ability.