Skip to main content

Ask SAIL: Disposable Boat

 My partner has a 26-foot sailboat that has been neglected over the years. I have been tracking sale prices of boats this size, and everyone tells me it is a challenge selling a boat like this now...
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Ann Shelley, Bellaire, Michigan

Q: My partner has a 26-foot sailboat that has been neglected over the years. I have been tracking sale prices of boats this size, and everyone tells me it is a challenge selling a boat like this now—especially given the economic climate.

My partner is spending about $300 a month for moorage, and I swear he is losing that and more by holding onto the boat. Places also won’t take it as a donation. Apparently, they only want boats that they are confident they can sell.

What does one do with a boat no one wants? How does one dispose of something made of fiberglass that does not naturally break down?

Don Casey Replies

A: Your math is correct. Your partner is spending more every year than the boat is worth in good condition, and it is never going to go up in value. At least from a financial standpoint, he should dispose of the boat. He’ll save $3,600 every year after.

Because the boat has little, if any, cash value, no charity will be interested. But if the boat is still basically sound, you just need to find a sailor or would-be sailor up for the challenge of breathing new life into an old boat. Good Old Boat Magazine hosts a web page at listing boats like your partner’s neglected little yacht. The listing is free, but asking prices are limited to not more than $5,000. In your case, with the meter running at $300 per month, the wise thing may be to offer this boat for free.

A second forum for disposing of unwanted boats is Bone Yard Boats, a quarterly newsletter that saves old boats from being broken up. Most listings here are for wood boats, more power than sail, but some fiberglass boats are included. The listing is free, but will likely be slower to yield results, as the offering does not appear until the next quarterly newsletter is published. You can find more information at

Other possibilities are an ad on eBay, on craigslist, in a local “shopper” publication, or on the notice boards of nearby marinas, boatyards or sailing clubs. Your partner’s boat still has dream value. You just need to publicize its availability.

Don Casey has written many books and articles on marine maintenance and repairs

Got a question for our experts? Send it to



Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an more


Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred more


Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end more


New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to more


How to Spectate on the Newport Bermuda

The biannual Newport Bermuda Race starts on Friday with the first warning signal at 1 pm. Whether you’re tracking a loved one’s progress or just spectating an event that draws pros and weekend warriors alike, there are plenty of ways to stay up to watch. The starting line will more


US Sailing Strikes Gold in Hyères

After being skunked or nearly skunked at multiple Olympiads, could the US Sailing Team (USST) now under the direction of Olympic veteran Paul Cayard, be finally turning it around? If its performance at the 53rd French Olympic Week regatta in Hyères, France, where the team posted more


New York City’s Newest Fleet

120 children enrolled in Brooklyn Boatworks’ STEM and life skills-focused program launched their hand-built optimist prams on June 14 from Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The launch is the culmination of years of student work, with boats in process before the pandemic caused the more


Charter: Off the Beaten Path

So, you like to charter in the Caribbean with its warm waters, swaying palm trees, steady trade winds and strong rum drinks. What’s not to love? It can be easy, though, to get stuck in a rut when chartering year after year in the same place. Sure, the British Virgin Islands are more