PBO's resident YouTube aficionado Kass Schmitt recommends George Isted’s channel Refit and Sail for project boat buying advice in video form

The rise of YouTube sailing vloggers has encouraged many to look for a ‘free’ or cheap project boat in the hope fixing it up to one day sail over the horizon to a life of trade wind passages punctuated by snorkelling, island treks to waterfalls, beach barbecues, and rum-fuelled dance parties.

There’s no shortage of inspiration, with the likes of Sailing Uma, White Spot Pirates, Expedition Evans, Alex Goes Sailing, Wildling Sailing and The Sailing Brothers demonstrating that, with some persistence and a few barrels of elbow grease, it’s possible to make cruising dreams come true on a shoestring.

Still from Refit and Sail YouTube video

There are, of course, potential pitfalls, and while it can be entertaining to watch others grapple with them from the comfort of ones armchair, it’s probably best for all concerned to avoid them if possible.

Happily there is no shortage of advice for doing so. When discussing plans for this column with my other half, he pointed about an article he’d written on the topic, ‘how to choose the right project boat‘, in PBO just last year.

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But if you prefer to receive your advice in video form take a look at this recent video on George Isted’s channel Refit and Sail.

I first met George in 2013 when he turned up to race his 1984 Contessa 32 with the Solo Offshore Racing Club, quickly making his mark by beating newer and better-funded boats.

Several years later he traded up to Liberta, a 1983 Westerly Sealord, which he continued race while also living aboard. Around this time he also left his job in the IT industry to work as an independent boat builder, with his Contessa-owning friends as early clients, which led to him being called ‘the Contessa professor’ around the yard.

He worked on plenty of other boats, including his own, which he prepared for an Atlantic circuit. This he completed in exactly a year, sailing to the Caribbean with his partner, toddler and a mate and returning single-handed.

It was on this return passage that his channel was born, or rather, in episode 1, Preparing for a Solo Atlantic Crossing, we meet him as he is preparing Liberta to leave Saint-Martin.

One year and 70 episodes later, his audience has grown to 9K, impressive, but short of what it deserves, given the clarity and quality of the advice he offers to aspiring practical boat owners.