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glenpoisson 01-23-2003 06:24 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
I''m looking for some suggestions from all you Do-It-Yourselfers out there.

I am interested in finding a project boat (sailboat) but don''t know where to begin. Being that my financial situation isn''t the greatest, I''m looking for a tired old boat that I could breath some new life into with a lot of sweat and hardwork on my part.

The less money and more sweat is preferable!!!

Websites and magazines usually only advertise expensive boats. Where else should an eager but very poor sailor look to find the tired old boats that have been neglected, cast aside or abandoned?

Let me tell you about my situation (maybe you''ll have some better sugestions for me).

I am preparing to go back to school to study biology (in the fall) at the University of New England (in Biddeford Maine). I believe that if I''m going to do something, I should do it to the max! Soooo, with that said, I want to live aboard where I can create a floating laboratory environment (living in and with the environment as I study it). I am not a professional sailor by any stretch but I do have some single-handing experience.

I am basically looking for a somewhat sound hull (or one that I can make sound), deck and rigging. The interior will most likely need to be completely renovated to accommodate lots of insulation and a laboratory-like living arrangement (so it is not a problem if it is currently a God-awful disaster zone). Fiberglass would make the most sense for me because I already know how to work with it but beggars can''t be choosers so I''ll take whatever suits my purposes (and learn as I go). I''m guessing that something in the range of 35 to 40 feet will suit my needs but probably won''t know until I see it.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom out there for me?

AND before someone says, "Live aboard in New England??? You''ll freeze!" I have researched the idea for a couple of years now. It is being done. I''m extremely innovative and I''m sure I will adjust and survive.

So if anyone has any POSITIVE (or practical) words of wisdom, I would love to hear from you.

Glen Poisson

AJS 01-23-2003 07:20 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?

I can''t help re. finding a boat but I will pass along this website:

Its a great source of information for restoring an old tired boat. This guy is amazing.

Andy Shand
Dry Red
C&C 25 - I

kokopelli9 01-23-2003 08:16 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
Try checking with some boatyards or marinas...the ones down here in NC always seem to have some abandoned treasures in back yards waiting to be rescued.
And good luck! Sounds like a great project and I hope you succeed!

Stede 01-23-2003 08:48 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
Glen, you might find what you''re looking for at "" Good luck!

tho52mas 01-23-2003 10:59 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
Maine? Wooden Boat! Call or email them and ask for the list of freebies. Also they have to know who has something. Lastly, I traveled Maine a few years ago looking for a boat. Go to every marina, coffee shop, boat repair place or what ever they are called. Become a sales person. But know your boats too. Do you want wood, glass, aluminum?

glenpoisson 01-23-2003 06:11 PM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
Thanks for all of the great suggestions. Please keep them coming if you have any additional thoughts. I do appreciate the words of encouragement!!!

In reply to your comments:
-- The Triton site is great. I think it will be very helpful and at the very least, inspirational. It is always comforting to see that someone has gone before me and to know that my goal IS obtainable!
-- I did check There were some in the low price range but very few in my geographical region. I am willing to go quite a distance to find a suitable boat but it doesn''t make financial sense to purchase a low priced fixer-upper and then pay a fortune in transport costs. I will check the site periodically though (maybe I''ll get lucky).
--Checking with marinas, and repair shops is a great idea too. Does anyone know if there is a resource that lists names, phone numbers, and addresses of marinas along the east coast??? or at least the New England area?
-- The reference to Wooden Boat... I''m assuming you mean the magazine. I''ll have to look for the freebie section. Free is definitely a good thing!!!
-- To be honest though, I''m kind of afraid of wooden boats. Don''t get me wrong. A well maintained wooden boat is a thing of beauty and has a spirit that boats of other material could never match. However, I don''t know if I''m handy enough to repair a wooden boat to live-aboard standards. Then there is the maintenance, too. I think I''d be tackling more than I''m ready (or able) to handle. I''m a very gung-ho type person but I know my limits.
-- To the question of, "what are you looking for?" Glass makes the most sense to me. I''ve worked with glass before and am fairly confident that I have the skills to execute repairs in it. I would definitely be willing to take on an aluminum or steel hull, if the boat fit my purposes. I don''t know how to weld but would love to learn!

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions and positive responses!

Glen Poisson

Jeff_H 01-24-2003 02:56 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
I am afraid that this post will sound a bit like the old southern line, "I''ve done this a million times and it never works" but here goes. In my lifetime I have bought and restored, or been paid to help restore, or have helped either physically or at least been an advisor on literally dozens of restorations. It can be done but restorations are rarely cost effective.

The worst case is a nearly completely stripped out hull. When you add up only the materials to put one into sailing and live aboard condition, even using salvaged parts and non-standard materials, you end up spending many times what the boat is worth or what you can buy a used already fixed up, updated and maintained version for.

Often when you talk about the major project boats in the size you are seeking there often are irreversible structural issues as well. By the time a boat gets stripped, bulkheads and other structural interior elements are often shot, allowing the boat to flex in a way that can greatly weaken the laminate.

The most successful reclaimation projects have been boats that someone else has started to restore and then run out of steam or money to finish. Often much of the supplies, gear and equipment is present just not installed. In the best case you can find a boat that is largely intact but just needs cosmetic work completed.

For example, probably one of the more successful reclaimation that I have gone through was the time I bought a race boat that had gone through Hurricane David with a hatch part way open. The interior of the boat had a waterline that ran around the boat part way up the seats but just short of the engine sump. The topsides was encased with mud from the storm and when cleaned in spots showed some minor scratches. There was water in the bilges above the floor boards. At the time the extent of the damage was really not obvious but most people assumed the worst. There had been several very low offers before I came along. I ended up buying the boat for somewhere between 2/3 and 1/2 her bluebook value. Most of the labor putting her into shape involved cleaning and waxing fiberglass and making new teak plywood deck inserts. Otherwise, she was fully found and operational and all she needed was some normal maintenance. I later sold her for about 25% more than had in her. The key in this case was an otherwise solid and intact boat which had been on the market for a long time and just looked scary.

In my lifetime most of my project boats have come from a lot of leg work. I typically have a circuit of visiting various boat yards in the area. I spot what look like derelict boats or boats that have been for sale for a long time and I keep an eye on them for a long while. Small sloppily run yards seem to have the best derelict rows. They don''t seem to have the energy to foreclose and cease the vessels or dispose of them once they do. If I see a boat that has been out of the water for several seasons, I might approach the boat yard office and ask what they know about the boat. Sometimes they are about to foreclose for lack of payment; sometimes it is simply an absentee owner; sometimes there is a rediculously high asking price; you just never know.

Sometimes you can find a boat sitting in a backyard behind someone''s house. I have bought two boats in my life that were sitting in fields unloved and untouched for several years. These tend to need a lot of clean up more than missing parts. On one it literally took years to get the leaf stains out of the fiberglass in the cockpit.

It is surprising how often project boats do go derelict mid restoration. I looked at a boat down in Georgia with a fellow that was a neat boat. There was so much stuff in the cabin that you could not walk through the cabin without unloading all of the wood, sails, and boxes of gear that the owner had purchased before running out of energy and money.

Here are a couple sources for online distressed boats

I would also track the listings with normal brokers. Often a boat with ''issues'' will stay on the market a long time and can be purchased quite cheaply.

Good luck,

VIEXILE 01-24-2003 05:00 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
Since you''re going to be in Biddeford, you''re in about the right place to pull it off. Go trolling in your spare time. Start in Newburyport, MA, about an hour south of you. Familiarize yourself with the yards. Try Great Bay Marina in Newington, NH. Dion''s in Kittery sometimes has stuff, but tiny yard. Work your way up the coast looking in backyards and along roadsides. I looked at dozens of boats from Portsmouth to Hancock, Maine. There''s a ton of little yards between you and Bar Harbor. I found my boat in SW Harbor, ME. It took me a couple of years before I had the guts to try to get the guy to seller finance it, which he did, with $5000 down. DON''T forget you have to pay Maine Use tax at 5% or so on the purchase, even on an old used hulk. There''s yard after yard north of you, many with what you''re looking for that''s been sitting there for years. Instead of going full blown restoration, educate yourself YOURSELF. With all due respect to others of differing taste and opinion, some of the ''facts'' that seem to come from these discussions are mere opinion, often taken too seriously. There''s dozens of Pearsons, Bristols, Cheoy Lees, etc. up and down the coast of Maine. If you know what you''re up against with re: fibreglass, deck problems, hardware, rigging and propulsion, there''s DOZENS of boats that''ll work GREAT for liveaboard/cruising the coast of Maine. I believe there''s also winter liveaboards at Spring Point Marina in S. Portland. I lived on my Bristol 35 for awhile on Peaks Island in Casco Bay. Of course, it''s not a Farr 38, but it was seller financed, goes to weather well, has a hull speed of 6.53 kn and has suited my purposes admirably. It isn''t what I''d have bought had I had extensive resources, but it''s what I bought to take the family sailing and I''m glad I did.

bayme 01-24-2003 10:20 AM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
Why don''t you take a look at this link

This is a 32'' hodj sailboat from sweden. It comes with full mast and rigging in good shape, as well as four sails (3jib 1main) in tired but re-newable shape. The boat is in mechanically good shape, including a fully operational twin battery dc set up, as well as fully functional ac inverter system. Also includes twin solar powered vents, anchor and safety package. Not working is the pressure water and refrigeration system. The interior is really not that bad, except for a one sq foot portion of the wood headliner which should be replaced. The teak is okay
and the royal blue cushions are not bad.

The main downside to this boat is that the Saab singel cylynder diesel will need to be rebuilt. In the meantime I can include a 9.9 four stroke outboard which is fine off an outboard bracket.

I''m also including a large amount of Klover Klamp brackets, enough to build a shelter over the boat while you rebuild.

I''m also including an brand new gel coat peeler which normally retails for $600.

If your interested, the whole package including the engine is $3500. Winter storage is paid through may at Locust Point Marina in Bronx NY

glenpoisson 01-24-2003 01:58 PM

Project Boats -- Where Do You Find Them?
Thanks again for the great suggestions everyone.

To Jeff:
Thank you for the URL''s. I had forgotten about boneyardboats. The site looks like it could hold some potential as well.

I appreciate your candour and reflection on your past experiences. The logic of what you say does make sense. However, you should realize that what I consider to be a renovation and refit to live-aboard conditions is probably much less than what others would find acceptable.

I don''t require much in the way of amenities (nor have interest in them). I am looking for a boat with a sound hull and deck, and a safe rigging. That is all that I need to get me started.

I may not have a comfortable berth to sleep on... my winter-rated sleeping bag and camping pad on the cabin floor will suffice.

I probably won''t have a shower... as a student, I''ll have access to the locker rooms (or possibly the marina will have showers)

The boat''s plumbing may require a lot of repairs... I''ve been looking into AirHead toilets (or something similar)

The battery system may not be up to the challenge... people sail all over the world with out refrigeration and electrical appliances

My point isn''t neccessarily to find a project boat because I think it will save me a lot of money in the long run. My reason for looking for a project boat is because I can''t afford to purchase a non-project boat. I''m ready. I''m eager. I''m excited. I''m unattached. Now is my time to make a try of this.

Please don''t get me wrong. I''m not at all disputing what you have written. I appreciate your honesty. All that I am saying is, I''ve got to begin with what I can afford. I can afford to buy an ugly old project boat and slowly work on it. I can''t afford to purchase a beautiful craft that will turn heads.

Again, I do appreciate your comments and am always willing to hear from persons that are more knowledgable and experienced than I. Keep your comments coming!

Thanks for your input. It''s wonderful to hear that you were able to survive what I aspire to accomplish. You mentioned that you lived on a Bristol 35. How well did that size of boat suit you (with regards to living-aboard)? I realize some people don''t require any space at all while other require a floating Taj Mahal. So I am always curious to see how sailors feel about the particular size of their vessel. Thanks again for the great insight.

Oh, by the way, I''m not in Maine yet. I actually live in the Providence, RI area. If anyone knows of any good possibilities in RI or CT. I''m all ears!!!

To bayme:
She is pretty. Do you have any pictures of her interior? Do you know of any good sites out there that could tell me more about her? This may be an ignorant question but I''m here to be educated so here goes -- What is a gel coat peeler, why do you own one, why would I need one if I purchased your boat, ie: what''s wrong with the boat??? Are we looking at major problems with her hull??? As far as the damage to the wood liner that needs to be replaced -- what caused the damage? You may hear back from me after I do a little research. Thanks for the contact.

To everyone else, particularly those that have or are currently living aboard -- how do you feel about living aboard a 32 foot boat? Keep in mind that living space will be reduced after I insulate and winterize. Also, does anyone know anything about this particular brand boat, hodj?

For those of you that might wish to answer discreetly without roughling any feathers, my address is

Thanks again everyone for the assistance. Keep it coming, it''s greatly appreciated!!!

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