It surprises most people to learn that when it comes to free yachts, it's more difficult to keep a free yacht than it is to get a free yacht. There are many free yachts out there waiting for new owners, but a wise sailor should follow some steps to get a free yacht the right way.
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Run the numbers of how much it costs to keep a yacht since even yachts that come with hefty sticker prices are relatively cheap to buy when compared with upkeep and storage. You need to figure in the cost of a slip or mooring at a marina, the amount of money needed for monthly cleaning and the cost of new sails, blocks and lines that the "free" yacht inevitably needs.
Head to a local harbor or marina and ask the harbor master what he has in the way of free yachts. In all likelihood, you'll get a tour of some free boats on the spot. Get contact information for the boats owners so you can start making steps towards getting the free yacht.
Speak with the present owner of the boat; there is no such thing as asking too many questions about why the person is giving the yacht away. Try to get the history of the yacht, the number of nautical miles it's done, the shipyard that built it and the present state of things like the sails and winches.
Check out listings in Wooden Boat and other boating magazines if you don't find a satisfactory yacht in a harbor or marina. You should also feel free to place a small ad in one of the boating magazines since you are likely to get more responses than you could imagine, especially if you advertise yourself as a competent and respectful sailor.
Transfer the ownership of the boat through the correct legal channels and don't skimp on any of the transfer of ownership documents or procedures just because the boat is free. You should check with your state department of fishing and wildlife or the department of motor vehicles to see where you need to go for transfer of ownership applications.
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