Free Yacht - Volume2





Introduction: Free Yacht - Volume2

About: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.

TimAnderson is known around these parts for the awesome free yachts he acquires... My father recently acquired what can be considered a free yacht - and surprisingly, my mother agreed to go along with it. I detested - even Tim said it's a monster of a project - but that didn't stop it. My father lived on a sailboat when younger, so I kinda think this is somewhat related to a midlife urge to do "things" and live dreams :p

Now this isn't any ordinary "free yacht" - this is a 61 foot (LOA) Ketch. So what comes with a 61 foot yacht?

Length Overall: 61'
Beam: ~15'
Draft: >7' with extendable centerboard (+2' --hydraulic)
Construction: Fiberglass - hand layup: 1984
Ballast: 18,000lb integrated in layup
Water: 600gal in 2 tanks
Fuel: ~450gal in 1 tank

Engine: Ford Lehman 135hp
Generator: ???? (don't recall)

Reverse Osmosis water treatment
Two redundant auto pilot systems
Compressor for SCUBA
16' inflatable
Washer/Dryer in a Utility Room
3 heads - 4 showers (plus deck shower)
4 Cabins
Deep Freezer
Stove and Oven
3 zone a/c
Deck refrigerator
110 Power service (on board inverter when not on shore)
12V Power service
7 141 pound batteries (ask me how fun it is to replace these :p)

Etc. Etc. Etc. - you can live aboard this thing....

The downside is - this boat has sat for awhile. And we are constantly finding new systems. I've been meaning to do an instructable - but there's just so much stuff to go into it. So here's a quick slideshow :)

There's a lot of story behind the boat, and of the restoration process.... But we successfully navigated the yacht through Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Rivers :) And by successful, I mean we didn't crash or damage anything (other than pride perhaps) - the trip was very... "Event full" requiring some Macgyver at sea solutions....



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    23 Discussions

    OMG that is a ship that is not a yacht? I would not mind dragging that thing up on land and living out of it. Would not worry about a flood? I would be afraid to pilot that you need a crew to handle the sails I don't think one person can do it? Brave men all I can say. I bet a handfull of homeless veterans would be able to make it work?

    were did you quet the free boat i would like to have the same

    To anyone whom wants to give away a 220' sea worthy Yacht, Ship, Craft ect, or larger ;  Please Email me at , If theres one thing in life that I want to do before I go to the after life it is to live on the sea and travel till that day comes.. I wanna a Yacht !

    Really enjoyed this.  I've started a Yahood group at  where sailors can help other sailors find their free boat.  In just two days I've found at least a dozen free boats that look to be decent and ranging in size from 20' to 27'.  Most of the time the owner is not using his boat and does not want to continue paying storage fees or slip fees.  Not that the boat is a piece of junk but he is just ready to move on.

    Whoa! My family and i (im 13) live on our boat and we dont even have all those amenities! Cool boat, anyway!

    What a wonderful project! There is nothing! Absolutely nothing! that feels as amazing as being on a sailboat that size. If I could find out how to get one of these affordably, I'd wrap my entire life around it. Just never thought that it could happen. Please give more info on how you got it. . . . pleeeeeeze!

    great stuff theres heaps of good stuff and i agree you live once do it!! but for new comers there are costs that you have to beware of marina fees etc,hauling out,antifouling and breakages but i do with a small yacht in new zealand with an income of just 270 dollars a week with exchange rate thats about 180 american dollars,i gave up smoking so i had a bit more money to work on her and really the major outgoing is mooring fee at marina about 2900 thats about 1800 usa dollars per annual stay this would be more if my yacht was bigger,but hey theres nothing like being on the water and if my boat was bigger i could live aboard so yes its a great project,one golden rule is shop around for product and parts to get the best deal a couple of phone calls ca save you alot of doallars

    I had to chuckle when reading this instructable living here in Ft. Lauderdale area and working the boats for a number of years now - I've often stated when someone says something is "free" - That free costs a lot. This "free" yatch will certainly give new meaning to that statement as i'm sure you're finding out. Nothing is free in this world - there is always a price to pay. A yatch/boat of any kind - is nothing more than a hole in the water you dump money into. Let there be no dillusion to anyone thinking someone is just handing a yatch or boat or any sea worthy vessel over to someone else with out great costs involved in the end for repairs and maintanance dockage etc etc. As stated this instructable had me chuckle silently to myself at the real cost of this "Free" yatch/vessel.. However it can be a fun yet costly project - and i wish you and/or anyone else whiling to take on this type project the best. Happy sailing... -chase- chase

    4 replies

    Sure, the cost of owning anything is something... But the cost of owning is a far cry different from the cost of acquisition. To date, the money put into the boat has not come near the "value" at the time of acquisition. I don't look at the house I live in as a land locked money pit. It serves a purpose, which is why money is thrown into the pit that is the house I live in :p In similar fashion, this vessel serves a purpose - and, if we wanted to, it could be home :p If I said no money has been put into the vessel after what you see in this brief slide show, that would be less than truthful... Notably, a bow thruster was installed... For a ship this heavy and this large... I, for one, consider it a piece of safety equipment. And for anyone that isn't aware, it's not a "cheap" piece of equipment and requires the boat being out of the water and a sizable hole cut through the bow.... For a first time free boater person - this is def. not the one to start with... Something more like the boats TimAnderson has acquired would be much better. yes, money will still be ultimately spent - but at some point we need to decide when living is more important than having money in one's life. I can think of much worse hobbies :)

    Fortunately your land locked home - doesn't sit in water let alone salt water or you might consider it a money pit. You'd be delusional to think any vessel let alone a 61' wind jammer is not a money pit. and a huge one - Bought new - average cost of maintenance is 10-15% of the value/cost of the vessel - well known fact to anyone in the industry. any repairs are over and above that cost. Hence it is usually a Rich mans playing field. Shoe String Budgets and Boats generally - not always - but generally do not go together. Have you priced the sail replacement costs? I'm sure they are stretched if they saw any seas. Did it even come with all the all the sails?? you're not going to sail her alone - so - you need crew - unless she's so equipped and then you must have spares of the need rigging - Rigging - has to be replaced on Sail boats to be safe in a timely fashion. Water or hull damage which you find on most FREE boats - can be extensive. Granted - great project - I have seen worse be brought back to full sea worthiness - but at great costs. Just getting her up to Coast guard standard can be costly. The rewards when done - yes can be great. But my point is - FREE - costs alot - because until you spend the money - you can't do squat with her except park and look at your Free acquisition of a money pit. Those that wish to undertake this type free endeavor should not be fooled in thinking this is going to be a cost Free, let alone Cheap venture. It's expensive period. One time out at sea calling Sea Tow to come rescue your butts - will give you a rude awakening as well as the insurance costs . Hence it's usually a rich mans playing field - or a boat /vessel poor live aboard sailors playing field ... ;0) You either have deep pockets to keep up it - or go broke trying. No matter your choice - I do wish you well - and would love to see some the future ports you take here posted some where on line. again - Happy sailing -chase-

    Bought new - average cost of maintenance is 10-15% of the value/cost of the vessel - well known fact to anyone in the industry. any repairs are over and above that cost.

    Totally reasonable....

    Have you priced the sail replacement costs? I'm sure they are stretched if they saw any seas.
    Priced, I personally have not... Stretched - a bit... Not enough to warrant replacement.
    Did it even come with all the all the sails??
    Sure did... and a complete spare set which appears to be unussed and spinnaker...

    you're not going to sail her alone - so - you need crew
    We're a family crew :)

    Water or hull damage which you find on most FREE boats - can be extensive.
    Yep - nothing a bit of peeling didn't fix... It was taken out of the water and into dry dock... The family business has a few connections - so pulling the boat out didn't cost anything....

    Just getting her up to Coast guard standard can be costly.
    Not really... It was fairly well equipped to start... I'd give more detail, but this is already a lengthy response....

    I had a bunch more written, but to cut it shorter.... 1) we've slowly done quite a bit of work 2) she's gone out quite a bit, and we've never needed to call Sea Tow 3) the family business involves a lot of work in these mega yacht yards - some boats throw out ridiculous stuff (such as a 12 person inflatable life raft - still within it's annual certification). Does it cost money? Absolutely. Does it strain my family? Absolutely not. Does my family have deep pockets? No, not deep - this boat aside, I've always thought of my family as running very lean.

    To drive the point - if anyone else wants to take on a free yacht endeavour - they're probably better suited to something akin to TimAnderson's adventures - larger vessels have an exponential increase in complexity to bring them back to 100%. Luckily, 100% isn't necessary to have a safe trip :) On a final note... if it wasn't safety, it was probably ignored.

    And, I really should update with more recent pictures :)

    Hey trebuchet03 - ahh the family business is involved with yatching... explains alot of your cost savings... True - seen more great stuff throw out by the yatchs - deffinetly during a re-outfit. But Hmmm - 12 man life raft thrown out? still in inspection date cirt? - i'll hold my toungue on that one - lol My only real point here - and you seem to have the benifit of more than the average connections to lower your costs some what - but it does take deep pockets to maintain a vessel - i think you'll agree. Your statement as to 10 to 15% yearly maintance costs being reasonable - lets me know your finacial freedom exceeds the costs of maintanance - the average joe would have heart failure after going into sticker shock at the costs related - seen it many a time. Even those above the 600k annual income rate. The last vessel i was on a few weeks ago - 1.4 million in fees for some stuff the owner wanted done - (she's a 108 foot) Year before 3.5 mill. He sneezes at nothing when it comes to costs of his vessels - (he's has 4 or 5) Great owner. I was under the impression at first you were of the 100k range income bracket. An outlay of 100k in a 50 to 60 foot vessel is nothing to spend in one lump sum fixing something that breaks. or of Modernizing them. Sail vessels - if your planing a ocean crossing - have to 100% i think you'll agree there as well - putting up and down the river or local coastal safe sailing if not. Again not trying to deture anyone from attempt this thype thing - just opening eyes to the reality of what free really is in boating - i comend you for you under taking with this vessel - but do worn those thinking this is a FREE venture - That free does cost alot. Especially in boating. Wishing you the best trebuchet03 - See you out there one day i hope. -chase -

    I was just postulating that there must be an non-linear relationship with the length of a free yacht and the number of potential and real catastrophes incurred by said free yacht. Maybe scales as volume? A 61 ft free yacht has 8 times the number of problems as a 30.5 ft free yacht?

    3 replies

    I imagine that it would be in the range of
    book value of the boat/cost of repairs=likely hood of it going for free.

    While I don't know how many problems a 30.5 ft free yacht has.... I imagine the relationship isn't so much between the number of catastrophic events, but instead a relationship to the magnitude of said catastrophes.

    For example - everyone neglecting to physically check that the rudder actually moves given wheel input. This assumption of "yes" led to this 61 foot yacht going sideways (as a result of tidal flow) in a 65 foot wide river. Mind you: no rudder control and minimal throttle (it is, after all, a 61 foot yacht).

    We were quite lucky that day (a weekend without much boat traffic) that a small power boat came by with the horsepower to set us straight and allow us to tie off. Later we found a split hydraulic line (and the reason why the bilge was oily)...

    It was also luck, perhaps, that my mother (staying on shore) didn't realize she didn't put a memory card in her camera - so the utter fear, pain and adrenaline that made it's way into our faces was never actually recorded...

    Similarly, a 30.5' yacht may have problems with it's batteries... Something tells me that this 30.5' yacht doesn't have 987 pounds of batteries plus an additional 141 pounds of battery elsewhere :p The magnitude (and perhaps weight) seems atrociously higher...

    At the same time - I speculate that there's an inverted non-linear relationship between the number of uses a 30.5' free yacht gets versus a 61' free yacht. Personally, I'd love to see anyone's face after "filling her up" with 400 gallons of marine diesel - what a bill that will be....

    Cool! Sounds nice! If you ever get near the great lakes ring me up.I would love to check it. JK

    I think its Great to hear someone else did it? But would like to know what and how long it took your father to aquire the yacht as I'm looking to do same thing only I live in uk and which marina did he get it from.