Re: "Free boat" seaworthiness
I agree with miatapaul to a certain extent. I just don't understand why you've "fallen in love" with this boat. It seems clear that this boat sank and was submerged, at least up to 6" below the deck. Based on the mud cakes, the deck was submerged also, and with the stanchions missing, it's a sure thing that the deck core is soaking wet and rotting from the inside. I know the guy seems like a nice fellow, but I still don't think he's giving you the whole story and fessing up to the duration of neglect.
Many use analogies between women and boats. If you compare this boat to the dozens of other neglected boats out there that could be gotten for almost no money (many on trailers), she is a "crack ho." I'd like to see you upgrade at least to some "trailer trash" that you can haul to your property and work on without incurring storage fees, insurance, and other ongoing unavoidable costs.
There's a story behind every derelict boat out there, and most of them start with guys just like you - good skills, eager to find a bargain, but work commitments needed to make a living prevent them from having enough time to make any real progress, so the boats just sit.
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Formerly posted as "RhythmDoctor"
1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)