We've all seen them: the old fiberglass boats in the back of boatyards, shreds of an old winter cover wrapped around the jack stands, mottled wood on deck and piles of leaves in the cockpit suggesting abandonment. Someone's dream once, but now too expensive to restore when you can buy a good used boat for less than the parts needed to restore an older one. What happens to these old boats? Is it a downside of fiberglass that it seems to last forever?
I've always thought there must be some creative uses for fiberglass hulls that won't see the water again. Seal them up and join them together as pontoons for a floating city? Invert them as roofs woven into the structure of a fantastic pagoda? Surely someone has a creative solution for repurposing old fiberglass in beautiful shapes?
On the other hand, there are boats worth saving and there are people with the love and energy to do it. I heard recently about a family in the U.K. rebuilding a classic Contessa 32 from a fiberglass hull up. Their goal is to build as green as possible, such as with a decking of Kebony, a sustainable wood alternative to tropic hardwoods, and a Hybrid Marine engine. Their blog Building Calypso is inspirational for both classic sailors and environmentalists. If only the world had thousands more families like this!