Free for the Seas: $0 Westerly Nomad

Free stuff is always interesting, especially when it looks like a boat previously chartered by Mickey Mouse himself. This Westerly Nomad is a 22′ pleasure craft that looks better than many boats I’ve seen listed with an actual price, so I’m not sure what the catch is – other than owning a boat of any kind is typically hideously expensive. Find this free boat here on craigslist near Annapolis.

The seller describes the Nomad as a twin keel sloop originally made in England, and grades it as being in fair condition. I’m not a boater, but I’m sure there’s a laundry list of a checklist that one should go through before taking something like this on, even as a freebie. Unlike a car you can just leave in your driveway until you figure out what to do with it, a boat takes a bit more of a commitment.

This is the lone picture of the cabin, which I’m sure like many vintage R/Vs, needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt. I’d even wager that’s where the lion’s share of the work lies (in addition to replacing the non-existent engine) as rebuilding a vintage boat interior looks like a job many of would prefer to avoid. I’ve reviewed a few listings elsewhere for these boats, and while most agree that they’re rare, they don’t command much money.

That’s where vintage cars and trucks rub me the right way, because many of them if bought right can hold onto their value or maybe even make some gains. It’s harder for me to see vintage boats appreciating rapidly, such as this Aristo Craft Funliner I have for sale from the large Georgia collection listed here as a Barn Finds Exclusive. What’s your preferred vintage pleasure craft – or do you prefer to keep your fun times safely on land?


  1. davew833

    “A three hour tour…. a three hour tour.”

    Like 12
    • Franksave30 Member

      All you need is Ginger and MaryAnn and the professor making a radio out of coconut shells.

      Like 1
  2. delboy

    The best two days of boat ownership?
    The day you buy it.
    The day you sell it.

    Like 10
  3. Motoring mo

    A boat is a hole in the water surrounded by wood into which you pour money

    Like 11
    • Solosolo ken tilly Member

      Well done Motoring Mo. A really apt description of boat ownership. The last boat that I had shares in cost nearly £150 between the last catch and the next catch. Total fish caught? Three! Been there, done that.

      Like 5

      car? – same, just w/o the water fun

  4. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    As a life long sailor I agree that maintenance can add up over time. But I’ve had significantly more expensive wooden houses and cars that eat turbos and tires than some of the boats I’ve owned. There’s no such thing as a freebie in life but few sell a car with the expectation of recouping their ‘investment’. Like anything else you measure the cost by the satisfaction derived in working on and using it.

    This boat could be the right thing for someone in a tidal area, with its multiple keels to let it rest on the bottom as the tide goes out, as the Brits and folks in the Chesapeake area do. I have small sailboats that don’t need engines and as long as the mast and rigging are in decent shape, cleaning the cabin can be a good offseason task. Sails and parts can be sourced online just like for an older car. My wife and I are restoring a Hobie cat in our driveway which will be ready for the water as soon as the water gets warmer.


    Like 12
    • Solosolo ken tilly Member

      When i was a Sea Scout in the UK about 65 years ago, they were referred to as Bilge keels. I now live in UK on the Adur River and as the tide comes in all the single keel boats have seawater covering a portion of the deck until the boat starts to float, whereas the bilge keel boats just float upright as the water gets deep enough.

      Like 5
  5. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    If told my wife about this Nomad, I’d get the Nomad. She’d say no, and she’d be mad.

    Like 2
  6. CapNemo CapNemo

    I’m picturing Ronald McDonald at the helm. The colors would be perfect lol!!

    Like 7
    • h5mind

      Name suggestion: ‘Supersize Me’

      Like 3
  7. h5mind

    I noticed this quote is on the wall of the Maritime Museum here in Greenwich, London: ‘Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. ..” (Kenneth Grahame, ‘Wind in the Willows’)

    Advice from seasoned sailors is to buy something you can physically carry to and from the water, or trailer to and and fro- anything else will eat you up in storage fees and you’ll never end up using it.

    Like 4
  8. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I like it! I would dock her next to my pier and have friends over for a few cocktails. With my Skippers hat on of course.

    Like 3
  9. Del

    Arrrghh! Maties….

    Like 3
  10. A.J.

    Found this on Yacht world magazine:

    Designed by English WWII naval hero Denys Rayner, the Nomad is an offshoot of the Westerly 22. Rayner is also the developer of the bilge keel and founder of Westerly Marine which at one time was the most popular boat builder in the UK. The twin, or bilge keel, was found on a few of his designs of which the 26’ Westerly Centaur is commonly found in the U.S. Tide in the UK are quite high and when the tide is low, the bilge keel enabled the boat to sit level so live aboards could still enjoy the boat’s comfort. In addition, with the sometimes difficult waters of the North Sea, the additional ballast made for a more comfortable, stiff ride in extreme conditions. Noted for her quality build, Westerlys were accepted heartily by Lloyds of London. The use of interior space was sought after offering more headroom and a great use of interior space.
    Kinda an interesting boat.

    Like 8
  11. Jay Rock

    BOAT – Bust Out Another Thousand. Probably why the seller is giving it away, cutting losses and wants it gone.

    Like 2
  12. robj Member

    Only thing more expensive than a cheap boat is a free boat….

    Like 2
  13. schooner

    A buddy had a smaller Westerly. If the wives had something together over the weekend Bob and I would go off sailing. That Westerly was a really solid boat. Loved sailing upright and with all the gunkholes here on eastern LI we’d pull in, let her stand upright at low tide overnight, drink beers, eat steaks and swap lies. I’m a stinkpotter so if he wanted to go fishing I’d reciprocate. We still sail and fish together sans wives but with larger boats (the best boat is always two feet longer) so those little cricks are now off limits, dammit.

    Like 3
  14. schooner

    “… rebuilding a vintage boat interior looks like a job many of would prefer to avoid.” After a couple of 105 Series Alfas and a string of E10 ’02s I feel that way about rust.

    Like 1
  15. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I am a local Marylander, and frequent Annapolis on a regular basis. If anyone is serious about this boat, I can drop by and take a look. [I had a restoration shop and restored vintage cars for 30+ years.] Can also help in arranging transport for a buyer.

    Like 2
    • PatrickM

      Listing deleted by author. No other info.

      Like 1
  16. John Lyus

    Westerly Nomad’s only fetch a couple of thousand pounds in the UK. They are great boats. As for the interior it would be fairly easy to sort. The motor, well probably have a few choices here, and they are small enough to be outboard powered. The things that will cost big are sails, and other fittings, but then it is free, so you have a bit to play with. Osmosis may be an issue in this age boat, which will be somewhere around 1965 – 1968, if my memory serves me right.

    Like 2
  17. Third Coast Kurt

    What happens when car guys look at boats – all this talk about “motor.” There’s a pretty obvious outboard motor mount on the back of this vessel. All the other comments about risks and rewards of boat ownership are consistent with my experience. Good thing this baby’s gone.

  18. Chad

    easier to live ina boat than in yer car…
    1/2 the cost is all the ‘above deck stuff’.

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