Did i say something recently about a post being the final one in the starter boat series ?.

Ok, so i lied !

As i write i have just come back from an excellent birthday weekend away that came with the view in the title picture. Its a shame that the light was so blank at the end of the day but that was essentially the view from our room.  For anyone not local it’s the Fowey river at Golant where we sailed and anchored last year.  I could even recognise one of the boats still out on its mooring : the 2-stick Wharram cat.

WABI”’ on the beach just off the slip at Golant last year.


The weekend was my birthday treat away so of course i ‘suggested’ that it might be nice to get some lunch in an excellent cafe i know a bit further down the coast at Mylor…..where of course there just happens to be a good boatyard that will be just full of interesting projects to look at.  Right off i found one boat that is on ebay right now : Serenity, an Achilles 24.    Tempting but its still got the wrong keel for my project.

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It was great for me to be in boat-land because i urgently need some new photographs for the blog and lets face it, there is a whole load of interest just wandering around a boatyard at this time of year.  There were a few keen early-bird boaters around peeling covers off boats and tinkering with odd jobs but none of the frenetic rush that this place will be at Easter.

My blog is entirely based on crap writing but slightly better photography and i felt that my posts were getting a bit stale due to relying on the same photographs repeatedly.  The day hadn’t been a promising start with solid clag to the west of Dartmoor and rain as we left home but improved throughout the day, this is later at the small harbour at Polkerris in the corner of St Austell bay.


I got a few decent new photographs in the yard and down on the foreshore, treated myself to a brand-new rigging knife from the chandlery and had a good look around the top end of Mylor boatyard where the project boats tend to be.  Although not marked for sale this might well be a project boat, it’s an old East German Folkboat like my first boat and it looks as though its been on the bottom.


There is seaweed way up the rig and the transom is partially stove-in.


This got me thinking about another take on the starter boat/first boat idea but starting not with a complete boat ‘ready to go’ but with a project that needs anywhere from a wash down to a complete rebuild to get on the water.     The folkboat might well be beyond repair as they are built to a strange method to start with.   Just recently several boats have popped-up on ebay that might make a viable project so i thought that the focus of today’s post should be to talk about a project boat as a starter boat.  What i mean by a project boat is anything that isn’t in sailaway condition and that could be anything from a boat just needing a few hours cleaning and tidying at one end of the spectrum right down to a total ‘shed’ that needs a complete rebuild.  That poor little folkboat might be getting near the bottom end as that is a very difficult repair…..i can see a way of doing it but it would be a lot of work on not a great boat to start and finish with.

This post, in a way, refers back to some of my earliest posts in this series and basically considers cost again.   With project boats we need the base cost to be low enough and there to be enough useable kit or the cost of the refit/rebuild can way exceed a slightly better boat of the same type.  This might become obvious further on as we see a boat that is really only a hull and deck, the cost of getting that on the water would include a complete new rig and sails, a motor and a new rudder plus all the usual bits that projects seem to absorb.    Unless we are going in a different direction with the project then it is almost certainly not starting that far down the effort-slope.  Anyway lets go kick some tyres and see what we can find.

The first of today’s haul is very similar to the broken folkboat as it’s a folkboat derivative ie a GRP interntional Folkboat :

I would put that one about halfway between a wash-down and a total refit to get on the water.  The basics are there and it might just look a whole lot better for being emptied of rubbish and thoroughly cleaned.  A full refit wouldn’t be a hard job as long as the hull/deck, engine and rig are sound.  As far as i can see the engine has been refurbished and the stick is a new Z spar one….not a bad start.  Its strange how i keep coming back to my first sailing boat and that of one of my ex Whitbread mates but they really are 2 very good basic sailboats, just 2 very different types of boat.  The question here is mainly that of working out the major costs of the gear that the boat will need and the cost in work-time and materials for the refit…..once again the more kit we can get with the boat the better.


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At the complete bottom end of the boat project idea is this Achilles 24 sitting in a field quite near to me, not sure if it’s gone yet or no.  It was on ebay for about £100 for basically a hull and deck and the cradle.  The problem is that of having to buy or build everything from scratch for it and that includes a rudder, a rig , new sails and a basic interior.  I would be hard pushed to suggest that to anybody unless they were contemplating a project like Roger Taylor’s in which case the price is about right. Remember also that this has got to be craned onto a truck and transported to somewhere else to start a total rebuild.   There is very little to start with here.


If the boat appeals, and they are one that talks to me then go up on the budget a little and get one with some gear :

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Green and dirty but exactly the keel configuration i am looking for , i’m not sure whether some of the marks are gelcoat blisters so it would be definitely wise to have a thorough look at the hull before bidding.   This is about the level i would chose for my potential project as i could get it on the water with 3-4 days work with it’s present kit, then if i basically liked it , start the project or if not sell it on but looking a whole lot tidier.

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There is some kit including a recent outboard (5hp Tohatsu saildrive).  It looks tidy and clean enough inside, sails and gear look old-ish.  Sprayhood is a huge bonus.  A very good starter project at the opposite end ie wash-it and launch-it.  There is almost everything we need here to sail the boat although there could be problems we can’t see just from the photographs.    The thing that really surprises me about this little boat is how un-necasary is it’s scruffy, green and dirty appearance as though the owner has just given up and doesn’t care any more.   That boat for example would take me less that a weekend to get presentable to sell on a normal brokerage…..take off and bag the sails, wash the sail covers and sprayhood and stow them, clean the boat right through and then  wash it down, stow everything shipshape and bang the price up to about £3000 which would be about the going rate for the type.

Fancy a boring mediocre and down-at-heel dog of a cruising boat ? no, neither do i but it might suit somebody :

I have no idea what it started out life as but it looks rescue-able, no reserve on the bidding and not likely to go for much. As i write its had 3 bids so someone is prepared to give her a go.   Maybe someone would love it. This is possibly the bottom end of viable projects and more a likely go-er than the part-wrecked folkboat. Seeing where this is over near the east coast it might make a neat little cruiser for the rivers and creeks over on that side.   Although it’s not the kind of thing i like plenty do and , once again, just start with a thorough clean-up.    Strange but true….i used to know someone who bought something like this and successfully lived aboard it with very little money available to do much.  One thing to think about now is the amount of useful kit that comes up on ebay and the boat jumbles.

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