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Old 31-01-2019, 14:49   #1
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Free Boats - Your Experience

I was thinking about all of the boats sitting around as your drive through the suburbs and rural areas in the Philadelphia, South Jersey, Delaware, Maryland region. That being the case, I decided to look on Craigs list and see what people were selling their boats for. To my surprise there are people looking to give their boats away.

https://southjersey.craigslist.org/b...807629974.html

https://philadelphia.craigslist.org/...805270012.html

https://annapolis.craigslist.org/boa...788180193.html

https://www.free-boat.com/sailboat/

Of course, when you see something like this you roll your eyes and think they are more trouble than they are worth. But then part of you starts to wonder...could a budget of $5,000-$10,000 get you something worth while?

Does anyone have experience with this?
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Old 31-01-2019, 19:22   #2
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

Hundreds if not thousands of past threads discuss this topic in great detail. The Consensus Answer is, "it depends" 8-)

cheap+OR+free+boat+"nothing+more+expensive"+site:A www.cruisersforum.com

https://goo.gl/T2jqxU

Repeat the search without the last phrase for a more expansive (and more optimistic 8-) list.
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Old 31-01-2019, 19:30   #3
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

5 to 10k on a boat can go as fast as you can spell boat. That is mainly the problem. It is very difficult to judge really how much money you have to put on a close to abandoned or abandoned boat. Free boats generally become free after MANY years of neglect. Many years of back and forth with a marina, an owner, a yard, somebody that just couldnt care or wouldnt care anymore. The costs to bring that boat to a minimum working condition add up VERY fast. If you go for a smaller boat, that you can put on your own grounds to fix, and you really have the know how (or the natural ability and will to learn), tools and willingness to go through the hard work, maybe then a free boat could be something to go for. But if you are strapped with cash, spending those 5k or 10k on something in better shape is USUALLY a better deal (and that applies to most money brackets on very inexpensive boats that would cost much more money if properly maintained or looked after). In a nutshell that is the thing.

If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't be the one to buy a very cheap or free boat.
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Old 31-01-2019, 20:08   #4
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

Two most expensive things in life... a free horse and a cheap attorney. Free boat might be the third . Hahaha
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Old 31-01-2019, 21:30   #5
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

I sold my boat - older Catalina 27 - for $1 and I felt I ripped the guy off.
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Old 31-01-2019, 22:12   #6
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

bought my boat for $1, probably overpaid by 85 cents. but im happy...
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:00   #7
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

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Originally Posted by Wdlfbio View Post
Two most expensive things in life... a free horse and a cheap attorney. Free boat might be the third.
Agree, completely!


There is a very good reason why you often hear the old saying that the most expensive boat you'll ever own is the one you get for free.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:07   #8
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Hundreds if not thousands of past threads discuss this topic in great detail. The Consensus Answer is, "it depends" 8-)

cheap+OR+free+boat+"nothing+more+expensive"+site:A www.cruisersforum.com

https://goo.gl/T2jqxU

Repeat the search without the last phrase for a more expansive (and more optimistic 8-) list.
You sir, are a pip.

I am checking these out now.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:14   #9
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

It's possible to take a free boat and make it right. The reality is, take just about ANY used boat and get it 'right'. Total cost plus parts, maintenance, and labor (even if you do the work yourself) and you will more than likely have more into the vessel than it is worth in resale value.

Commonly, the owner of a free boat realizes this. They also realize that there is a cost for disposal. The easiest solution is to give the boat away for free. You're solving their problem by removing the vessel from their premises for free for them.'. What you really are doing is solving their problem and creating your own.

The TRUE cost of a boat doesn't become apparent until after you sell it.

Cost_of_Ownership = ((Purchase$ + maintenance$) - Sell$)

[IF financed, then Purchase$ = (Purchase$ + Interest_paid)]

If you want to divide that number by the (#_of_Months_Owned), you can factor out the monthly cost of ownership. However, at the end of the day, the value in the 'cost_of_ownership' is never a negative number (profit).

Most people looking for a free boat, can't afford a free boat.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:45   #10
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

LF4,
There are good free boats and not so good free boats. The good ones may just need some cleaning, have sails, need new batteries then you are off sailing. The not so good ones have sunk, rotten bulk heads/interiors, seized engines, etc.

Look around for some smaller boats 22-27' range (simpler systems) that don't appear to be neglected and you'll find some good ones. Also don't jump on the 1st one that comes along and take your time to differentiate a good one form a bad one (way too much time/effort)

Hopefully you're handy, otherwise the free boats aren't worth it. You'll learn additional skills that are more specific to boats as you go.

Also its not necessarily what financial gains you'll get out of the boat if/when you sell it, it will be the experience of working on boats and sailing. Being real her, boats are luxury items and really are not the best investment, but are fun when you get out to use them.


What area do you plan to sail? The Chesapeake?


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Old 01-02-2019, 08:45   #11
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

“Most people looking for a free boat, can’t afford a free boat.”

Excellent and very true.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:14   #12
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by LF4 View Post
But then part of you starts to wonder...could a budget of $5,000-$10,000 get you something worth while?

Does anyone have experience with this?
I bought my free boat for $2,000 in June 2011.

I started sailing it within a month of the purchase after a bottom job and total cleaning.

Then the diesel failed, and then another old diesel failed ($1300) after that. (which I replaced myself) I then bought a new 5 HP 4 stroke extra long shaft 25" outboard ($1550) and that is the main engine still.

I had a new main built. $1600

The boat was loaded with equipment including 5 anchors, 2 GPS, depth, dodger, autopilot, etc.

I added solar panels, controllers, and a couple inverters.

I have replaced the autopilot 2X. $400 X2

This year I 'm having a new dodger and mainsail cover made. $1578. I also replaced the outboard bracket, ($245) and I'm doing a third bottom job (bottom paint $315) plus starting to paint the interior and I'm replacing the curtains with shades. ($300)

I plan to replaced the halyards before I relaunch, and start painting the decks and cockpit

The boat is still in the yard from November 2018.

I plan to replace the rigging next time I pull the boat probably in 4 years.

I'm at about $10,000 spent now (for parts, sails, engine, etc) after owning and sailing the boat for almost 8 years
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:30   #13
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

Suggestion. Buy all free and one dollar boats you can. Sell them for $100-$500 a piece.. Take the profits and find something decent.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:42   #14
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

I recently took ownership of a "free" boat. It is an old-duck of a boat with a cult-like following on the East coast. It is a Dovekie by Phil Bolger. I kept seeing this boat mentioned in some books I was reading about gunkholing and beach-camping. Then, out of nowhere it was on Craigs List for free. It came with a decent trailer. It needed a few things, but I decided to go for it anyway knowing that I was going to have to invest some money to bring her back from the dead.

The first was new tires for the trailer in order to get her home. That was no big deal and I always put new tires on a trailer I buy anyhow. The real trouble came when I tried to register the boat and trailer. I had the titles, but there were a lot of liens on both. Luckily, the previous owners were gracious enough to help me get all those removed - at their cost. I couldn't believe it, but they did. They have a fondness for this boat because they inherited it but didn't have the time to put in since they just had a baby. They knew I was a good fit for the boat because I wanted to explore the California Delta. This boat is perfect for that purpose. I put the boat in the water at my local lake to make sure she floats and doesn't have a lot of other unknown issues. No issues here, so on to the next problem(s).

The next surprise was the sail. It was brand new, but it was not designed for this boat. That will cost me $1200 once I resolve the other challenge - this boat has leeboards but does not have the hardware to make them operable. Bummer!! However, through a lot of internet research and a couple of really helpful folks, I have a work around using ropes, pulleys and cleats. This setup is not too different than what other Bolger boats have for their leeboards. It's not perfect, but who cares, it I think it will work. Once I get it setup, I give float her again to make sure they work. If the leebaords are operable, then I plan to invest in the sail. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

My advice is to have an idea of what you are getting into before taking the plunge. I got lucky with all the liens, but in the future I would take the time to make a few calls to the DVM to see what condition the title is in before accepting another free boat. My next recommendation would be to setup a schedule of what the boat needs in a logical order as it pertains to the expenditure of funds. Make sure all future outlays of cash on contingent on the success of the previous money invested. Take your time and have a budget. Also, know when to call it quits before you lose not only your bankroll, but maybe a spouse.

Good luck!
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:45   #15
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Re: Free Boats - Your Experience

I was given a Catalina 28 free. Fiberglassed in some nonuser through hulls and sailed it around no problem.

Neighbor was excited, 40' trawler for 5K. When he showed it to a couple of us who have many years of working on boats professionally the price was going to be free. Looked at the damage, neglect and figured 25K to make it right again and the boat "might" be worth that at the end. He decided to keep on looking. I've seen other 40' trawlers in immaculate condition for 20K. Just move aboard. Most free or nearly all free boats probably fall into the category of both worth it.
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