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Last-chance auction for project boats at Blackwater Marina

by Dave Selby 21 Sep 2018 17:00 BST 7 October 2018
Last-chance auction for project boats at Blackwater Marina © Dave Selby

Dozens of project boats at Blackwater Marina at Maylandsea are being given a last chance by auctioning them off on Sunday October 7 with three months free storage included with every boat sold. Boats in need of saving range from small sailing cruisers to an historic tug, and many are being offered at "no reserve," with 6% of all proceeds going to three charities. The day will also include a boat jumble and on-water events.

Marina manager Beccs Polden said: "We have at least 30 boats that have become our property in lieu of debt. At least another five, some afloat and others ashore, are being sold by owners who are no longer using them. It's sad, but we want to do our very best to find homes for them all and give them a chance to be enjoyed." To give the boats the best chance there will be no buyers' premium to pay.

No reserve means that the highest bid, even if it's only £1, buys the boat. The free three-months' storage that comes with each boat is worth at least £300 for the smallest. One of the larger boats is historic Thames "Tosher" tug Freelance, built in 1916 and in service until 2000. The 33ft tug is fitted with a 1950s Perkins 100 diesel, itself a piece of maritime heritage.

Another classic is Demeter, a delightful 21ft wooden yacht built in 1954. In the case of Penny Blue, a charming 18ft wooden Blackwater Sloop built in 1963, the owner is very generously donating the entire proceeds to the auction's nominated charities. Fibre-glass yachts include a Macwester 8m, Vivacity 650, Westerly Jouster, Westerly Cirrus, Seamaster 925, Moody 346, two Pandoras and a Leisure 17.

The event, which is free to attend and with free parking, will also include a boatjumble and free RIB rides, canoeing and sailing taster sessions provided by Maldon Sea Cadets. In addition to 6% of the hammer price of every boat sold, stall fees (£10 private/£20 commercial) and bidder registration fee (£5) will all be donated to the RNLI, Maldon Sea Cadets, and GAIN, the charity supported by well-known sailing writer Dave Selby who has a very rare viral condition called Guilain-Barré Syndrome that means he loses mobility in his legs every four-and-a-half weeks and then spends three days in hospital having antibodies pumped into him to restore his legs. GAIN funds vital research into this rare illness (see

Auction details, bidding registration forms and listings of boats for sale will appear on For more details contact or phone 01621 740264.

To summarise:
7 October, 10am onwards, Blackwater Marina, The Esplanade, Maylandsea, CM3 6AL. Free entry and free parking. Auction starts 2pm; auction viewing from 10am, earlier by arrangement.

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