SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   General Discussion (sailing related) (
-   -   Free boat for me - lots of questions (

jiffy 06-25-2002 01:10 PM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
Hi there,

I have been wanting to sail for many years now, and it appears I am finally getting very close. I grew up on ski boats and am familiar only with lake and river waters so far. I currently live in San Diego, CA.

Some kind stranger, never mind the backstory, is giving me an old boat they no longer want. Unfortunately, having not spoken with her directly yet, I don''t know much about it. What I do know is that it lacks an engine and is 25 feet in length.

She says it has sails and is ready to sail away, except for the no engine part. I have no idea what that really means, I should get to go see the boat in the next few days.

So, here are some questions I have. I can only assume that she hasn''t taken care of the bottom in quite some time, as she obviously doesn''t care too much for the boat. Assuming the worst, that she hasn''t done anything to it in several years (?) what might it cost me to have the boat pulled from the water, scraped and painted. Let''s assume first that there are no blisters or anything.

Then, what if there are blisters? I realize the degree of damage could be wide ranging, but any ballpark ideas? I am going to have a diver go down and check it out, will they be able to give me any indication of what might be under the growth they will undoubtedly find?

She used to have an outboard motor, but it was stolen she says. What size motor might one put on a 25 ft. sailboat? How much might I expect to pay for a used one? I have looked at new prices and my head is spinning. Also, how can I prevent my motor being stolen as well? I would assume the marina has some sort of security, but I just don''t know.

Basically I feel I need to look at the boat (hello Cpt. Obvious,) but provided it doesn''t look like a total trash heap, and according to whatever I can learn about the bottom, I think I will take it. I have a marina that has an open slip for me already. Are there other things I can look for or ask her about that may be important?

I figure if it takes me a year plus $5,000 or less to get everything fixed up, I am getting a steal.

I will update this post with as much information as I can get about the boat as soon as I learn it myself. Any help or advice offered is greatly appreciated.

paulk 06-25-2002 01:59 PM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
Divers may have a hard time finding much to tell you if there''s a lot of growth on the bottom. You may want to have them scrape it (if they will) and wiggle the rudder to make sure it''s not loose and about to surprise you by falling out. If you can post what kind of boat it is, people who know it may be aware of specific problem areas to check out. Engines vary according to how heavy the boat is and what your goals are.
J/24 racers squeak by with the lightest 3hp
motor they can find. To fight currents or head seas in or out of harbor, 6hp might be better on a J/24. On heavier boats, a lot of people use long-shaft 9.9hp motors. Be aware that because of the maximum hull speed, upping the hp quickly comes to a point of diminishing returns. Putting a 50hp motor on the back will make lots of waves and burn lots of fuel, but you won''t go much faster than with a more appropriately-sized motor.

Jeff_H 06-25-2002 02:59 PM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
As Paul suggests, a lot of the answer depends on the particular model and what you expect to do with the boat. You should be able to get by with a 4 hp on a more modern design and will want more like 6hp on an older boat.

Whether it is worth fixing up the boat also depends on the model and condition and how fussy you are. To quote my oft mentioned old boat litany you can expect to find some ''issues'' with any older boat. Unless very well maintained and updated by a previous owner, you might expect to need to address some combination of the following items:

Sails, chainplates, mast step and associated suporting structure, standing and running rigging that are beyond their useful lifespan,
an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,
worn out or out of date deck, galley, and head hardware,
worn out upholstery,
Out of date safety gear
electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or replacement.
Blister, fatigue, rudder, hull deck joint or deck coring problems
Keel bolt replacement (bolt on keel) or delamination of the hull from the ballast for a glassed in keel.
And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic issues.

On a good solid design, you can easily get your money out of the boat but there are boats so ignoble that they are not worth yoru time and effort. When you know more post it and with that we should be able to give more meaningful advice.


mikehoyt 06-26-2002 08:10 AM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
This may sound obvious but why not have it surveyed?

If you are getting the boat for free the cost of a survey and even a lift out is a very small price to pay. On the other hand if the boat is a trash heap then the cost of the survey mught be the best money you ever spent.

For the outboard. Lock it and insure the boat. Insurance will replace a stolen outboard if you get the right policy. Get a good used one and the chances of theft will be reduced. Since Insurance companies usually insist on a Survey then we are right back where we started anyway...

Best of luck


hamiam 06-26-2002 09:19 AM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
First of all a "free boat" is an oxymoron. (Sorry to be harsh.) You may get the boat for free, put $10000 into it, and have a $5000 boat at the end. People often give away boats; its not usually out of the kindness of their hearts. Its to save on the costs associated with keeping the boat. I would take a look at the boat and, if you think it has some merit, have a surveyor look at it. You will need a survey to insure it anyway. Good luck.

jiffy 06-26-2002 11:31 AM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
Thanks for all the answers so far.

I just called my insurance guy and he said he doesn''t need a survey to insure it.

I am absolutely certain she is trying to get out of paying the costs associated with keeping it. I have no disillusions of her just wanting to help me out. She must be paying at least $250/month on a boat she claims to have originally paid only $300 for, so it''s easy to understand.

So anyway, now I have a new question. What exactly would a survery tell me, and how much might it cost for a boat this size?

hamiam 06-26-2002 01:03 PM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
A boat survey is similar to a home inspection. The surveyor goes thru the boat stem to stern and points out any problems and gives you a detailed report. I would guess that it would cost you under $200 and, in my opinion, is the best money you can spend. You don''t want to acquire the boat and find out that it has a massive blister problem or structural damage. Check out either (or both): or / Both shud have a surveyor in your area that you can call.

joshuaheard 07-01-2002 10:33 AM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
I was in a similar situation, having been offered a 25'' Catalina for next to nothing. It had been neglected for several years. I had the boat hauled. The boat yard scraped the ecosystem living on the bottom of the boat and discovered many blisters. They ground out and fared the blisters, painted the bottom, and buffed the gel coat. This cost around $2,000.

Find a cheap boat yard in your area and get a worst-case estimate.

I also had to buy an outboard. Check the boat manufacturer''s website for details about your boat. Catalina recommended a 9.9 long shaft outboard. I found a used one, but it was difficult. I paid about $400 for the outboard and another $400 for the boat yard to do maintenance on it.

Don''t have a survey done, it is not worth the money on a small boat that you are getting for free. If there is something major wrong with the boat, just sell it for what you put into it.

I put a lot of work into my boat. Be prepared to do alot of work yourself. I re-did the teak, and made lots of minor repairs. The total amount of money I have put into the boat is still less than what I see other boats like mine selling for. Make that your limit. Boats are like cars, they are not an investment, but an expense. However, you can have a decent sailboat for a little money. You will sail alot more and have pride of ownership.

Good luck.

jiffy 07-02-2002 08:45 AM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
Thanks for all the replies so far. I am getting less sure about this as time passes. I have yet to hear from the person who supposedly needs to get rid of this boat so badly, and I think I am changing my mind.

I have decided it would make a lot more sense for someone with my limited experience and funds to first get some schooling on the matter. I will be taking a basic keelboat course next weekend and joining a local sailing club. Hopefully within a couple of months I can get bareboat certified and just rent boats for a while.

It seems like probably the best idea for me. I will get to learn, sail many different sizes and models of boats, and depart from different ports. For the amount I would have been paying for the slip I had waiting for me, I can rent a 28'' boat for 24 hours twice a month.

Of course I am still interested in looking at the boat. For all I know, "a lot of work" means there is a scratch in the wood on the nav table and a rip in the upholstery. If it seems like a steal I will still take it, but I have no reason to believe it is anything more than a neglected project boat which would be more of a headache than it''s worth.

After all, what I really want is not to own a boat so I can feel cool, it''s to get out on the water and GO SAILING!

joshuaheard 07-02-2002 09:04 AM

Free boat for me - lots of questions
Good idea to join a sailing club. I joined a sailing club for a year before buying a boat. It is cheaper, no maintenance, and you can practice on someone else''s boat (usually with instruction). Plus, you can see if you sail enough to justify purchasing.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome