Bargain boats found in old barns

Published on September 8th, 2022

by Chris Caswell, Sailing magazine
As often happens for my musings in this column, three things converged like a perfect storm to make me start thinking. First, being a car nut as well as a boataholic, I visited a friend who is in the process of refurbishing a 70-year-old British sportscar. It was what is revered in the car universe as “a barn find.”

In this case, it was a chicken coop find and the first weeks of his ownership were spent removing the decidedly aromatic leavings of seven decades of chickens. But he picked it up for a song, and, as barn find tales go, it was a perfect example that would be worth more than the whole chicken coop when finished.

Next, a friend, knowing that I am a lifelong sailor, complained to me over a gin and tonic at a party that “I’d love to sail, but sailboats are just too expensive.”

Last, I stopped in at a marina with a huge back lot that was a graveyard of older boats. She Who Must Be Obeyed slipped me off my leash long enough to find there were several that I had once craved beyond any reason. Their decks were Petri dishes with mold that would stump biologists, any canvas was shredded and when I stepped on the deck of one, it was as soft as a Twinkie and made the same “squirking” sound.

But I realized that many of them were salvageable with some sweat equity, a few barked knuckles, and imagination. So, I went on a quest to see what is out there that would disprove my “sailboats are too expensive” friend. If you abhor any physical work (this includes swabbing decks with soap), stop reading right here and turn the page. But if you’re even a little intrigued, here’s what I’ve found. – Full report

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