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The Survey

So we finally got through the survey! Man, that is one long day. We hired Mike Firestone to do it based on his reputation in online forums and did they ever get it right. People say he’s the best because it’s true. There is a reason he is flown all over to survey boats. He looked at everything. If it could open, it was opened. If it could be seen, it was photographed. If it could be measured, it was measured. How he could look at any hose and instantly know where it came from and where it went was pretty amazing. Things that would have taken me hours, if not days, to figure out he’d just pop right off the top of his head – like where the breaker to enable the instruments at the helm was located. It was, shall we say, *not* obvious.

The boat sails exceedingly well, Amy even took the helm and brought us back into port. In light wind, it still really moves and the jibe was effortless. Heeling was minimal although it was relatively light winds.

We are still waiting on the final report where we’ll know all the details but there’s a few things we do know:

  1. There is blistering of the hull, you can see some here. It appeared to be moderate case and a cosmetic issue only – no real damage done as far as we know right now. It will need to be fixed.
  2. The cockpit floor is weakened and will need to be replaced. The binnacle has a distinct joystick feel to it. We’re not sure what caused it to soften so much but it’s not good.
  3. The deck above the anchor locker will need to be replaced. The previous owner removed the windlass and instead of sealing the holes where it was mounted left them open (the bolts were just sitting in the holes). This let a lot of moisture into the deck coring and it probably cannot support the load of lifting the anchor.
  4. The engine has a few problems. We’re not sure of all of them because all the gauges were either gone (RPM indicator) or not connected (everything else). It did nearly overheat during the sea trial and there is some corrosion under the heat exchanger that may be significant – we’ll know that for sure once we get the final report.
  5. There is a locker all the way aft that was pretty deep. Apparently someone decided to just glass in a section of it about halfway down and try to make a extra fuel tank. That did not work so well and it’s basically a EPA Superfund site in there with what is now a mixture of diesel and water and whatever else has built up in there. It has kind of penetrated the hull into the master cabin where the autopilot sits and you can just start to smell the diesel when you open up the area under the master bunk.

The good news is that all of this can be fixed and, with the exception of the aft locker/fuel tank, is not unusual in a boat this age. The cockpit and foredeck can be re-glassed and reinforced. If done properly, it will be as good or better than new. We’ll have to figure out what we’re going to do to make sure the engine is 100% but I’m sure any good marine diesel mechanic can make that happen. That aft locker will have to be pumped out and cleaned (whoever gets that job is one poor bastard – I hope it ain’t me). Once that’s properly cleaned and dried and we put a little bilge paint around the area, it should be a non-issue.

The bad news is that some of this stuff is gonna be a little pricey. Those deck replacements are going to run between $3,000 and $5,000 each(that’s a total WAG by the way). The engine will cost but I don’t think it’ll be that much – famous last words. I don’t know what it will cost to clean up that locker but I can’t see it being too horrific unless it really is declared a superfund site.

So what’s next? We’ve got a a long ways to go before we make any decision on this so we wait for the final report and see Mike’s recommendations. Based on that, we’ll get some real estimates on the repairs and work with the seller and see if we can get these issues and whatever else is turned up addressed. If we can, then we adjust our timeline appropriately to account for the repair times. If not, we start looking for a different boat.


3 Responses to “The Survey”

  1. Exciting times! Are you still looking at other yachts as well, or is this the only contender? Do you plan on doing most of your own maintenance?

    Posted by John Messec | August 23, 2012, 8:53 AM
    • Out mantra has been, “The right boat in the right place for the right price at the right time.” There are other contenders but this was the one that fit all our requirements best and we’d still like to go with it if possible. If we can’t work it out, we’ll find another boat somewhere. There’s a lot of them out there for sale and we’re still in a bit of a buyer’s market so we can find another if this one does not come together like we need it to -we’re not in a hurry so we have time to find just the boat.

      I plan on doing most of the maintenance just because some of this stuff is something I’d like to learn how to do and becoming more independently capable is one, among many, of the goals of all this. There’s a few really top notch books on boat care and maintenance with all the diagrams and troubleshooting flowcharts a guy like me can use to get even moderately complex stuff done. Some things, like fiberglass repairs, I’ll hire out to experts.

      Posted by Gary | August 23, 2012, 9:32 AM


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