Every once in awhile I’ll get on Search Tempest and type in the words “Free sailboat” just to see what happens…
For instance, in Florida, there’s a San Juan 24 without a working motor, another guy with a bunch of Catalina 22’s, and a Seidelmann 30 footer in need of some work all going for free.
Up in Maine there’s a wood 30-foot Casey Cutter that would make an interesting project and in Erie PA there’s a Pearson 28.
Of course, I’m pretty sure that if I used a different search terms like “fixer upper sailboat” or “Project sailboat” I might find a few more but the main thing is that there always seems to be some OK boats going for free among the thousands of sailboats for sale on Craig’s List.
The real trick in finding a good boat for free or super cheap is to look around for boats that have issues for the current owner. Most of the best boats I’ve seen going for free are not actually in bad condition but are boats that are costing the owner money to sit in a yard or at a dock which are not getting used or boats that have a single issue (say a motor that doesn’t work) where fixing it would cost the owner more than the boat would sell for and the boat is still costing the owner for it’s storage or marina slip.
For the most part a boat without a working engine or a mast is pretty much unsellable and while you’ll find a lot of boats for sale without rigs or motors you will find that almost all of them will still be for sale next year, the year after that and, well you get the idea.
The thing is, it really helps you to put yourself in the owners shoes and do the math to sort out whether the boat in question is a liability to the point that giving it away actually makes financial sense or not. Of course, the other reason you need to do the math is to figure out whether the boat would become a financial liability for you or not.
A few more thought on the subject tomorrow…