Thanks Peter for that information.Hi John,
Firstly remember that these boats started building in '91 and production ceased in November '96, so she will be at least 22 years old by now. Her condition and value will depend as much on how she has been cared for as the high quality of her original build.
I have only twice sailed a M38, but I have owned a M425 for over 8 years and the two designs share many features and characteristics, both designed by Bill Dixon and built by Marine Projects for Moody. Your post suggests that you have browsed this site fairly thoroughly and picked up the key points to look for.
The hulls are solid grp with isophthalic gel coat, laid up in MP's temperature and humidity controlled shop with moulded in floors, stringers and engine bearers. The floors stringers and bearers probably contain some coring - I have not drilled in to find out what. The deck is end grain balsa cored grp with marine ply pads in way of deck fittings. It's worth taking a close look at any after market fittings on the decks as the balsa core may not have been protected. Bulkheads and part bulkheads are marine ply, tabbed to both hull and deck. As such osmosis is not as common as in many other yachts of similar age, but not totally unknown.
The chainplates are bolted to part bulkheads, hidden behind the beautiful saloon cabinetry and are inaccessible without substanrial dismantling. If you're lucky, a previous owner may have cut access hatches for inspection, but this is not yet common.Where the chainplates pass through the side decks, there are little stainess plates, bedded down with sealant and 4 self tappers, to keep the water out, this is the source of a possible problem. Over time the sealant hardens and may start to leak (modern butyl sealants stay flexible much longer) any leakage will pass the deck core and end up on the marine ply part bulkhead. If ignored for a long period, this can lead to rot of either component. While possible to repair, this is not a cheap job. If there is evidence of the seali ng plates having been lifted and rebedded, that is a good preventative maintenance task. As the problem develops, the deck will start to bulge a little around the chainplate - you can easily check for this with a good straight edge (12" sreel rule).
In a similar vein, wooden pads are moulded into the deck under the mast step fitting and into the bilge at the foot of the mast compression post. A few owners have reported finding rot in one or other of these a common symptom is depression of the deck around the step - again a straight edge check helps.
The keel is cast iron and unless very well cared for, will probably have the odd rust patch. The keel bolts (actually studs and nuts) and their backing plares are mild steel and may well be quite rusty when seen in the bilge - this seems to worry some young surveyors, but when these bolts are drawn, they are usually found in excellent condition. The exception is when the mastic in the keel / hull joint has failed and seawater can get to the studs that way. If the top face of the keel is rusty and water oozes out when the boat's weight is put down on the keel at lift out, this joint may be in trouble. However, the top of the Moody keel is both long and wide and the studs are large and numerous compared to more modern designs, reducing the stresses in the joint. One M425 in the US was beached in a storm, suffering consuderable damage. Afterwards the owner had the keel dropped and the joint remade as a precaution. The yard had considerable difficulty getting the keel off the boat after all the studs were undone, and they found nothing wrong with the joint.
The stainless rudder stock is carried in plain plastic (? Delrin) bearings which are rarely problematic and fairly easy to replace ( you must drop the rudder). The shaft is sealed by O - rings which can be replaced when the rudder is dropped, they seem less problematic than the lip seals used on newer Moody designs. For most Moodys, if the seal fails, the shaft doesn't start to dribble until you open the throttle under power, dipping the stern - not sure about the M38 in this respect.
The engine's viability depends entirely on how well it has been cared for.
Teak in the cockpit was originally teak faced ply. It may well have been replaced by now with solid teak, if not, the job is probably due soon.
Check how freely any furling gear, winches and clutches work - they are too often neglected in terms of maintenance.
Overall, a rock solid boat when new with an appetite for passage making. Not at her best in winds less than 10 knotsand not a winner round the cans until itblows hard.
Hope this helps.
p.s. Ask to see the emergency tiller, more often than not you will be presented with a heap of rust. I cleaned ours up and had it galvanised.