Hi, folks. New member here.

A buddy of mine has offered to give me his 1979 J/30. He lived on it for six months, and now lives on a slightly larger power boat. He doesn't want to pay the slip fees for it, and bought it dirt cheap, which is why he's offering it to me. Where he currently stores it is too expensive for me to take it on, but if I can find a slip or mooring that I can afford, I'm contemplating on taking on the challenge.


I'm a wood worker and know basic fiberglass work. He's a wood worker, too, and has done some work on the interior. I have built a motorcycle from scratch, so mechanical (engine) work doesn't scare me.

I've never owned a boat, but plan on buying a 16-19' skiff sometime next year so I can take my kids fishing on the Patuxent River. I live in southern Maryland, just ten minutes from a ramp. I was also contemplating building a small sail boat (plywood and fiberglass) prior to his offer.

I have taken sailing lessons, and can handle a Flying Scot (the boat I was trained on) solo, if clumsily. With a partner, I can sail it fairly well.

He says the 15hp diesel runs well, but he thinks the alternator is dead because it eats batteries. He says the sails are in fair shape, and should serve a few more years. The deck over the cabin leaks a bit, but can be repaired. As far as he knows, the hull is sound.

We're gonna meet up for lunch soon to talk about it and then try to get it out in the wind (it's near Annapolis) soon, before the weather turns, so I can get a good look at it and a feel for it on the water. He says the boat is serviceable, but could use some attention.

I'm married, with three kids, 16, 9, and newborn. I'd love to get a boat that I can take out for day trips, and, once my family warms up to the idea of Dad being a skipper, over night...maybe. I've been reading what I can find on the boat, but most of what that is from the mid-90's or earlier. From what I can gather, it can be sailed solo on the main, just not as fast as with the jib up, and that if I have another person (or more), putting the jib up means it can reach closer to its real potential on the water.

I'm thinking that if it's truly in serviceable condition, and nothing scares me when I look at it, I'll take it, fix the engine, and play on it for a year, tinker with it, and decide whether I love or hate owning a sail boat. At that point, hopefully I'll have learned enough to decide whether it's worth fixing anything that's really broken, and whether the boat is worthy of a rebuild for a longer life. My wife is on board with me checking it out and taking it if it's serviceable; while she'd prefer a big power boat, we both know our current budget won't allow for it, and she'd really like something to get out on the water.

So...having said all that, can you offer up ideas on what I can inspect when I visit? It's in the water, of course, so I won't be able to test the exterior of the hull for soft spots. I know these can be prone to that because it has a balsa core. I know the deck can be damaged from over tightening the mast hardware; if so, is that something that can be repaired (I assume the mast must be removed first)? Are there any glaring deficiencies I should look for? I'll take lots of pics of it; is there anything I should take a pic of to show you guys for further evaluation?

Attached is the only pic I have of it so far; he sent it to me yesterday. Of course, he took it from the deck of the boat he's living on now.
[Linked Image]


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