considering J24 purchase - vermiculite

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I'm looking at buying a J24 from the vermiculite era. Boat seems to be in good shape (seeing it tonight) and the current owner races it every other week. I have no intention to race; but I think this will be a fun boat for my wife and to sail around the eastern part of O'ahu (Waikiki, Diamond Head, Koko Head) and, maybe one day, around the island or to Moloka'i.

But, it's an old boat, so it has the whole vermiculite keel issue. I plan to take a look to see if the vermiculite is moist, but not sure what else I can really do on inspection. The owner says he has had no problem with keel loosening. If the boat sails well currently, would I be crazy to buy it, knowing that eventually it probably needs a haul-out and significant fiberglass work? Keep in mind selection can be pretty limited in Hawai'i, if your budget is under, say, a bajillion dollars. This boat is priced under $3k.

I currently have a Catalina 22 that I'm rehabbing, but it looks like getting it into sailing condition is going to require a haul-out and probably cost 3-4 times the asking price for the J (oops).

Thanks!
 
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