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Old 23-05-2010, 06:42   #1
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Free Boat !

Are Americans more generous than the rest of the world?

I have been looking for a previously loved vessel that I can nurse back to health. As funds are tight at th moment, I thought I would search on Google for the term: boat "free to a good home"

And to my surprise, I found a lot of links from people offering everything from dinghies to 50" trawlers! The problem was they are all based in America!

My question is this: why do our American naval cousins seem more generous? Or is it just a Google bias?

Thanks for your time in reading this.
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Old 23-05-2010, 07:06   #2
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Unfortunately the land of the free is also the land of everything disposable. Wooden Boat magazine even has a section in their classified ads for free boats.
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Old 23-05-2010, 07:12   #3
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I can tell you that the economy is taking a serious toll on pleasure boaters as well as small scale commercial fisherman here on the Chesapeake Bay.

In the last 10 months I have acquired free of charge:

1970 Albin Vega 27
1965 Grampian Classic 31 Ketch
197? Coronado 23
196? Bristol Caravelle 22
196? Cal Jensen 29
1974 Mull Ranger 26
1965 Pearson Vanguard
196? Pearson Ensign
197? Pearson 28 motor yacht.

People are literally abandoning boats in the creeks along the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River and the Army Corps Of Engineers unit that used to clear derelict vessels from the area was disbanded years ago. Most of the marinas have several boats that are being held or sold to cover unpaid rents. And at least in Sparrows Point and Harford County I know of several incidents where boats stripped of all ID and on trailers were sneaked into marinas and night, parked and abandoned. The marina where I spend most of my time had 42 abandoned boats randing from RIBs to a neglected Hatteras 42.

The unfortunate truth is that cleaning them up, acquiring ownership and attempting to sell them at rock bottom prices is a failing business for me. Few average citizens can afford the upkeep, slip fees and insurance on a sailboat and with the price of fuel, I've seen nice little Silverton Sedans sitting and rotting because we cannot GIVE them away. And the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is only making matters much, much worse.
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Old 23-05-2010, 08:03   #4
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Redbellies, that proves my point! That's 9 vessels that you have aquired for free and yet, here in the north of England, I have searched in vain and only found 1 that was beyond repair!
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Old 23-05-2010, 08:09   #5
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Most free boats in reality are not free at all...not after you consider the time and expense of getting many of these free boats back into working condition.

Many free boats have negative value where it would cost you far more money to make the boat operable than the boat could ever be worth.

Many people are willing to give away a boat with very little value in order to get out from under the cost of insurance and berthing.

You must be very cautious when taking possession of a free boat.
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Old 23-05-2010, 08:25   #6
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Very true David M - but there is also some good money in "free boats'. I have friends in east Florida that collect abandoned 30 ft sailboats, spend $300 for a Sheriff's title then invest time and about $2K to $5K cleaning and re-fitting the boat. Then they take them up to New England and sell them for $30K +/- each. They have been doing this for a number of years and have learned how to "cherry pick" the boats that are available "free" to minimize re-fit costs and time.
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Old 23-05-2010, 08:29   #7
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I hope nobody left with the impression that I was saying all free boats are a bad deal. Many of them are a bad deal and its going to take some research on the free boat to determine if its a good deal or a bad deal. I just wanted to leave people with the thought of choosing a free boat very carefully.
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Old 23-05-2010, 08:36   #8
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To be honest, there are very few fiberglass sailboats I would even take for free, even in good condition. But a Vega 27? A Pearson Vanguard? I would jump at either. There are no free sailboats in the PNW. I looked. Not even cheap ones that are worth taking. Though there was a 31' Cheoy Lee ketch for 2500 that was mostly restored.
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Old 23-05-2010, 08:55   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
There are no free sailboats in the PNW. I looked. Not even cheap ones that are worth taking.
I agree, the only one I could find was this:
Ex MFV Fishing Boat bad condition FREE TO GOOD NEW HOME on eBay (end time 17-Jun-10 17:59:54 BST)

Probably cost me more to fix up than to buy something second hand! Would love to work on it though, just think it would be too big a job
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Old 23-05-2010, 10:03   #10
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I'm glad it's in the UK and not in Washington State's Mats Mats Bay.
There are enough derelicts there already!
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Old 23-05-2010, 11:34   #11
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Cherry picking is exactly what I've been doing. I could easily have 10-20 times the number of boats I've had since last summer. But I only took the ones I thought would have profitable resale after repair or ones that I knew I wanted for myself. And while I know I'm going to either take the loss or get stuck with them, the only regret I have is that I have been unable to turn this into a charity. I would love to have volunteers helping me return these vessels to service and give the profits the the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. There just isn't a wide enough profit margin to generate interest. Right now there isn't a wide enough profit margin to generate funds to feed my dog.
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Old 23-05-2010, 11:42   #12
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How about this for a free boat. No idea who it belongs to but try giving Gosport Boatyard a ring as I think its on their mooring. I think they would be delighted to get rid of it.

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Old 23-05-2010, 11:44   #13
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Oh this what it used to look like,

Buckler 24
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Old 23-05-2010, 13:08   #14
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I know this is wrong, but that boat is kind of cool!
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Old 23-05-2010, 16:17   #15
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Looking at that Buckler makes me very sad. But not sad enough to try to make her sail again. That would make me very more broke.
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