I would like to know where people find good project boats?
Right up front nearly all free boats are not worth the cost to repair and that assumes the boat costs you nothing to acquire. They don't given them away because they are valuable.
I would assert the best place to find one is to search out and follow the people that have done so in the past. Many never get finished. A started free boat make be the very best deal of all. At that point all the ugly parts
are exposed and you can find out what the free boat really will cost you. There lies the clue to making a free boat come out. Don't worry what you pay for the hull
but what it will cost you to fix. Paying something might save you many thousands of dollars. Every foot adds a few thousand easily sight unseen. Knowing what the free boat will cost you is the serious risk part of any restoration
. Being off by 2, 3, or 4 times the original estimate is not uncommon and causes many attempts to fail. How wrong can you afford?
Materials and supplies are indeed very expensive and if you don't have a boat yard that is nearly free the rent keeps chipping away at you as well. You can eventually compute the cost per hour to repair this boat even though you work for free.
Planning before you even look at boats is probably the key to having a chance. If you have deadlines or time constraints I would venture the deal is doomed from the start. Time is your enemy if you are reaching for a deadline. It works ashore just like on the water
. You get in a hurry and things get worse. Mistakes
made cost double to triple to undo.
New boats are expensive because the cost of high quality workmanship is time not money
. Even with cheap
labor rates it still costs a lot of time. Working for free won't make the clock slow down.
Save all receipts and keep meticulous records. Items you pay tax on now don't require taxes
paid later. You need records and the ability to keep them else your planning skills won't be up to the greater task at hand.
There is a lot of help available here on the forum but even with all that this is not an easy job. If any of this is fun then there are many parts
that are not. If you have the patience to rebuild
it you probably will have no trouble sailing it. The skills transfer well.