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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Boat ideas for next year

I'm always thinking about boat stuff. I suppose there are worse hobbies -like thinking about other women.

Last summer we were just a little late finding out about a free for the taking 30 foot sailboat. Someone who lived closer got to it before us. Such is life.

There are free sailboats available all the time. The thing that made that 30 footer stick out was that it was in sail away condition. Usually free boats require some work before you can splash them. However, I have no regrets as that doesn't accomplish anything.

Since then my lovely wife and I have refined our boat requirements a bit more. We'd really like a boat that can be loaded on a trailer and hauled away. This past hurricane season showed us the value of being able to move out of harm's way at 60 mph. It was a wake up call to see how many so called “safe” places suffered extensive damage.

Another thing we really like in a boat is shallow draft. Most boats that can be towed have keels that can be raised for ease of loading. When sailing, being able to lift your keel and get through shallow areas is a handy trick.

Next spring would be a good time to search out free boats. They almost always need some kind of work. I'm pretty handy with just about all the jobs necessary to bring a boat back to life. What I don't know, I can find out. When looking at a “free” boat it's good to be able to get a ballpark estimate at what it takes to repair it. There's a saying that there is nothing more expensive than a free boat. There is truth to that. Often, however, the problems are more cosmetic than structural.

Often one of the big reasons people can't unload a free trailer sailor is that trailer is gone. You have to show up with your own trailer and be able to move it. Even if you have a trailer, being able to load a boat without a crane can be intimidating.

My existing boat trailer could probably, with some minor modifications, haul a boat up to four feet longer than mine. That puts nice little boats like the Oday 23 within reach. For anything bigger, I've a friend with a huge trailer he uses to haul heavy equipment. He'd probably want to help me load it and has the equipment to make it happen.

If we picked up a boat in the spring, we'd have months to get it seaworthy. One of the tricks to restoring old boats is knowing when to stop. The difference between serviceable and showroom is vast. For example, I could patch a hole and make an attempt to sorta match the rest of the boat's finish. A perfectionist ends up sanding everything down to the base and redoing the whole boat. The pretty boat will be no stronger than my patch job.

A free boat is only a bargain if you can get it sailing without going broke doing repairs.



  1. “Other women” will cost you way more than a boat. 😊

  2. My Dad used to say that a boat was a hole in the water into which one pours money.

    1. It's true. A "boat buck" is a thousand dollars. People are used to say stuff like, yeah, those new sails cost three boat bucks.

  3. I would think that this time of year would be the best time to find a bargain.

    1. It is, but I don't have the time nor a heated space to work on it. I'll have to take my chances in the spring.