Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

T'is The Season...

....To pick up a bargain boat.

I reckon you'll be seeing quite a few cheap boats in the next month or two.

After a year of rubbish weather where even the most enthusiastic sailor will be having second thoughts about costs vs benefits, the recent storms, no end to the current spell of bad weather and mooring fees and insurance coming due, I think this will be the time to pick up a bargain boat.

A disused boat still afloat with all the gear is probably the ideal and provides endless hours of fettling to get up to spec.. Next would be a boat with a bit of non-structural storm damage like a tattered sail or lost hatch you can cheaply replace on eBay.

Ones with holed hulls aren't necessarily a write off, but there are lots of things to consider before taking one on. Not least the insurance. Would your insurance company be happy underwriting a DIY repair on a boat that's already been written off? They may stipulate any repair would have to be done professionally, or insist on a survey after repair making the boat uneconomic to repair.

Also keep your eye out for marinas and harbourmasters selling abandoned boats to recoup costs, I reckon this season there will be more of them than previous years. Shoreham Port Authority and Brighton Marina usually have a few abandoned boats on eBay around this time of year. The bad news being they tend to be fin keelers more often than bilgies. But a pre-emptive "have you got any cheap abandoned boats?" phone call might get you first dibs and a cheap price on something floating but guano-encrusted.

So, if you're after a cheap boat, keep your eyes peeled, the next few months might be the best time to bag a bargain for quite a while.

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