• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

It's really not free

Not open for further replies.
Jan 10, 2011
Macgregor 25 Lake Lanier
I am in Sarasota right now with my free boat. I paid $900 but that included docking for over a year(value $1400). After purchasing the boat I was sailing in two weeks. I have added. New used sail(sail that was stored and never used)$100. Outboard 10hp $200 + $80 parts, rigging $200, trailer $500 + new tires $220, Magma BBQ $100, bottom paint $250, battery $70, solar panels $80, electric trolling backup $125. I have spend hours and hours sailing. My children are learning to sail and enjoy the outdoors. I have a place to stay and sleep when I go to Florida if I don't want to stay with inlaws. My main expenses have been for docking and trailer storage in various locations. I would never have been able to rent a boat to do all the things I have done in the short time that I have been sailing this boat. All I need now is to finish my dodger and be more comfortable when sleeping in wet conditions.
I got a free Compac 16 from a rich guy who knocked a hole in the keel. I reglassed the keel. Added a bit of gel coat and it was perfect. It came with a trailer. It was a nice boat. Had to sell for money for old fish wife.
If you have a free trailer sailboat let me know. If it is in anything close to good shape it is worth it to me.
Jan 22, 2008
Macgregor 21 MN
I got a free mid-30' sailboat almost a year ago. It needs work just like the $20,000 or $30,000 boats I was looking to buy. In either case there would be repairs and replacements to be made as a person selling a boat seldom does all the upgrades just before selling it. I just took the initial cost of a boat and invested it in my free boat. Everything will be relatively worry free for some time to come and I'll know my boat since I am doing the work myself. When I'm done I'll have the boat I wanted. And in the meantime I can sail the boat I didn't have to sell to get a bigger boat, so I'm still sailing. And fortunately, I don't have to pay storage fees for my boats.

Most people who were looking at this free boat were disappointed that they would need to spend some money and passed on it. Of course none of them had the money to actually keep her.

As they say: "There is no free lunch".
Oct 28, 2008
Catalina 320 Lake Texoma
B.O.A.T. = Break Out Another Thousand :D

"Bella Barchetta"
This the AviatiorJames of FA fame? Anyway, kinda reminds me of the old boater adage, "Two best days in a boaters life, the day someone gave him a boat, and the day he gave it away" or something like that.
Sep 25, 2008
Islander (Wayfarer/McGlasson) 32 St Georges Harbor
I was talking to a guy at a marina in Delaware when he asked about my boat. I told him my dad gave it to me. He replied "Yeah, dads can be real A-holes some times."
Jan 22, 2008
Macgregor 25 Dana Point CA
LookingforWind, I largely agree with you. My wife likes to sit on the boat and watch fish at night come up to my fish light. She likes sitting on deck reading but when it comes to going out I am with my friends or my German shepherd. But she loves the boat because it relaxes me. My boat is a Venture 25 purchased out of lean. Most cost has gone to a new outboard and safety equipment. The boat itself is faded, the sails are a little blown out, but the boat makes hull speed so who cares. It took me 7 years after buying her for $1000, to paint her. Would rather sail than paint, fish than paint, sit on her than paint. Wife painted her as a Christmas present. Still need the hull painted.
It cost me $400 per month to keep her in the water year round, but she is ready when I want her. She cost more than racing my Corvette (16 events per year) and more than my three horses, but I love her.
The beauty of the Macgregor is that unless you’re trying to turn a tent into a condo there is little to go wrong. First thing I replaced were the hatch guides and rudder, with parts from Ida Sailor. Put a reef in the main, and added a fish finder with GPS, Depth and Charts. That is really all she needed for 5 years. Then new standing rigging, EPRIB, SPOT Tracker, Auto Tiller and VHF with DSC.
Great boat, looks ok at 15 feet, and sails nicely. Being in California I can sail about 340 days per year if the job allows, Reality is about 50 times per year.

I'd like a Catalina 30, but reality is most the time it's around the buoys,
Jun 10, 2004
S2 9.2A Winthrop, MA
I agree

my good old irish grandmother used to tell my mother (her daughter), "marie, don't complain about the boat- it could be drink or women". that explanation seems to work with my wife, as well. you might try telling your beautiful wife that.
I told my Wife "At least the other woman weighs 10,000 pounds!" ;)

We have an agreement. She doesn't complain about the boat (she doesn't want to be obligated to spend time on it) and I don't count the pairs of shoes that suddenly appear in the house.
Sep 30, 2008
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
A free boat can be okay if you know what you are getting into. My Dad and I "inherited" an O'Day 23 from my brother-in-law. The keel was laying on the ground, waiting to be sand-blasted and coated with epoxy, and the deck had holes where Hurricane Bob had dropped a tree on the boat. We spent two summers getting her seaworthy. It was actually quality time with Dad that I wouldn't trade for anything. We ended up sailing her for five wonderful years on Cape Cod, and five more great years in the Boston area. The projects on the old O'Day were, of course, never-ending, but that's what boating is all about, right? Anyway, the "sweat equity" we had into the boat was huge, but well worth it.
Sep 30, 2008
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Sometimes a free boat can be worth it, provided you know what you are getting into. My Dad and I were given an O'Day 23, courtesy of my brother-in-law. The keel was lying on the ground, waiting to be sand-blasted and coated with epoxy, and the deck had holes where Hurricane Bob had dropped a tree on it. We spent two summers getting her seaworthy. That was actually quality time spent with Dad that I wouldn't trade for anything. We sailed that old O'Day for five wonderful years on Cape Cod, and five more great years in the Boston area. The projects on the old sailboat were, of course, never ending, but that is what boating is all about, right? The "sweat equity" we had in the O'Day was huge, but well worth it.
Jul 31, 2010
AquaCat 12.5 17342 Wateree Lake, SC
Tom J said:
We spent two summers getting her seaworthy. It was actually quality time with Dad that I wouldn't trade for anything.
Amen, Brother. Amen.
Nov 19, 2008
Boatless Boatless Annapolis
It's Expensive But It's Worth Every Penny

I have come to the realization that owning a free sailboat is very expensive!
Yup, it is expensive (mostly our wives says that). So I sold my boat in 2005 and really missed it and realized that I was happiest while floating, because all of the day to day crap I have to deal with is forgotten when I sail.

So I bought another one 3 years ago and try not to think about how much I spent and focus on how much pleasure it gives me.

Pray for Spring!
Last edited:
Sep 20, 2011
hunter 30 md
i just got my old/new free boat!!!! 1980 hunter 30!! it has been dry docked for over 8 years, however since dry docked it has had water on floor up to bottom of cabin in galley! previous owner dont know how it happened unless there is a leak somewhere, but,,,,, so any help with ideas on where to start with my free boat i would appreciate. pss,, what should i do to check the motor after all this time
Dec 9, 2006
Oday 22 Hickory, NC
B.O.A.T. = Break Out Another Thousand

Reminds me of the one that goes like this; man and his wife were out on their first sail, the boat starts sinking, she said, "Quick, do something nautical", he whips out a credit card!
Sep 29, 2012
Catalina 27 Great Salt Lake Marina
I've always wanted to own a sailboat but seemed cost prohibitive until I got started with some serious research. As a single 30-something I discovered that living on board would save me from paying rent (700 a month) and offset the cost of ownership in a relatively short period. I opted for the smallest fixerupper I could stand to live on that would also provide easy handling and a great learning experience... so I moved aboard a 1980 fin keel, standard rig, standard cabin Catalina 27, which has proven to be tons of fun to sail and an immense amount of work, but I've loved every minute of it.

After the purchase price, fresh gloss and texture topside paint, teak restoration, all new running rigging and blocks, and another dozen or so upgrades I'm out about 14K (and tons of sweat equity), and in the next year or two anticipate spending 2-3K more for a new mainsail, outboard engine maintance, blah blah. Adding up the monthly slip rental of $75 a month in winter and $150 in summer, the project will likely pay for itself at about 30-36 months of living on board (by saving $700 a month in rent).

I realize I'll face unforseen costs, and never sell the boat for what I am investing but I'll have much more to show for this investment than I would after 30 months of spending the same on rent, and from this perspecitve I pretty much got a free boat, including maintance and upgrades.
Last edited:
Not open for further replies.