Free boats eh? This obviously doesn't apply if you're happy with what's offered on the market, but I'm of the mindset that if you're gonna make something your own, and you already know that anything you buy is going to change drastically, get the most solid base line you can, for as cheap as you can, and go to town. It may (and probably will) cost more, but then when you take into account the amount you'd spend to rip up your boat and rebuild it all to your specs, it works out pretty even to what you'd pay for what you want if it was offered.
I did this with numerous personal automotive projects, where I ripped out engine, transmission, rear end, rebuilt the interior, etc.. the trick to doing it affordably was buying a theft recovery, insurance salvage, etc.. the more parts that I didn't need that were missing, the better off I was, and surprisingly enough the better the end product. As an added bonus, I also knew every system, every wire run, every nut and every bolt, making troubleshooting much easier when something bad happened.
On that note, I've now decided to turn to a sailboat and do the same thing.. so if anyone knows of, or has a 30-40 footer (~35 is ideal) with a solid hull (metal or fb, and as much keel as possible) deck, and refurbish-able mast, on the uber-cheap or even "Please get this the hell out of my slip!", let me know.
Electrics shot? Great. Interior trashed? Perfect. Engine gone? Bummer, but I'll take it anyway. Looks like it hasn't been cleaned in 10 years? So what.. Leaky hatches? I'll fix it..
So yeah, all that to say - if you know of a boat on Lake Ontario that fits that criteria (you know the one - that mess three slips down), then by all means send me a PM. If it's far from Toronto, if the old girl has one last sail left in her before a refit, that would rock. Not too much to ask for now, is it