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Old 14-10-2010, 11:30   #16
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Shipshape,

Thanks for a great post - all good stuff!

Anecdotal info:

When we hired our first surveyor, we were really stuck between two boats. Our broker (they aren't all slimy either) arranged for both boats to be available for survey and our surveyor said she would look at our "favorite" first. To ease our worried wallet, she proposed that if she found any immediate problems in the first hour, we would move to the second boat and that hour would be a no charge item.

Now perhaps she already knew our "favorite", because about 40 minutes in, she turned to us and said - this boat has had some serious problems and a very wet hull along the chainplates. I would recommend looking at your second boat.

Our second boat was a bit smaller, but well-cared for. After an hour she said, my initial impression is this is the boat for you. We received a very usable report that identified all the issues in a clear, concise manner. Worth every penny!

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 14-10-2010, 12:59   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShipShape View Post
As a surveyor I very much enjoyed this thread, and would like to share a few things from a surveyor's perspective.
Thanks for the report. That's a lot of good info to consider when looking around.
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Old 14-10-2010, 13:34   #18
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Since many used boats require a survey for insurance purposes anyways, I think it makes sense to get this prior to making an offer so you can use it for that decision as well.

I used a surveyor twice for my last boat search and walked away from one boat based on things he discovered that I missed. It was money well spent.
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Old 14-10-2010, 14:21   #19
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Your best plan is to use a surveyor to back up what you already know. It's mostly to get financing & insurance.

Do you really think a surveyor can closely inspect every item of a 45' sailboat in 8 hours including a haulout & sea trial?

Inspect & operate every valve? Scrape off verdigris to see the color of the bronze?
Check every electrical connection AC & DC throughout the boat?
Check real operating capability & condition of all air cons, toilets, fresh water plumbing, stove, refer, radios, electronics, winches, pumps, hoses, ports & hatches, chargers, inverters, etc in 4 hours before doing the haulout, sounding the hull & going for a sea trial?

A real, thorough inspection of every detail in depth would take at least 10 hours, maybe more before the haul & sea trial.
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Old 14-10-2010, 14:40   #20
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There's two types of surveyors...... good ones and bad ones. Cut and dry pretty much. The good ones really do go look at the boat.. the bad ones ask if you have any previous surveys. If you're going to insure your boat you need a survey anyways..... might as well get it before you buy especially if you are not really good at judging conditions of a boat.
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Old 14-10-2010, 19:31   #21
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Originally Posted by gettinthere View Post
Do you really think a surveyor can closely inspect every item of a 45' sailboat in 8 hours including a haulout & sea trial?
Good point, gettinthere. Minus the wet deck core (which I am working on :) my 42' boat is simple, clean, and conforms to current standards - he could easily be surveyed in four hours - there just isn't anything to write-up. I surveyed a 39' boat (no haulout or sea trial) that was so neglected the survey took two days - every time a surveyor finds something s/he needs to stop, write it up, and often take a picture. It almost always takes two days to survey boats over 50', and I have heard of two surveyors working at once on larger boats to get it done in one day.
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Old 14-10-2010, 20:48   #22
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From what I have experienced over the years

Good surveyors have an idea of the inherent strengths and weaknesses
of a particular design.

That is where they usually go to first.

On one of the accredited sites for surveyors, they have a lengthy description of various problems found with various vessels.

I will try to post a link when I find it

Quote:
Originally Posted by gettinthere View Post
.

Do you really think a surveyor can closely inspect every item of a 45' sailboat in 8 hours including a haulout & sea trial?

.
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Old 15-10-2010, 04:47   #23
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so this 45' yacht passes all the 'inherent weakness' inspections. There are still plenty of standard systems that take time to give a GOOD going over. How do you know the inverter will overheat unless you stress it with a heavy load over some time. The standard surveyor test is to turn it on, if it lights up it's considered "working". Turn the VHF on and it lights up...but what is the condition of the antenna wire going all the way up the mast? VHF is worthless if the antenna wire is corroded. etc, etc, etc

In order to really confirm all the systems of a modern yacht would take many more hours than is allotted. And it would cost a lot more money. All I am saying is that a standard survey really guarantees NOTHING except that you can get financing & insurance
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:01   #24
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I have a surveyor looking at my first sailing boat purchase right now. He is very thorough and will live aboard for 2 days as well as sail/motor and beach her for hull inspection. From what I have seen so far in his initial feedback I would have no problem recommending him.

My question relates to this feedback he has given me already. His initial findings are that the hull has moisture readings at levels regarded as medium and a couple of areas of high moisture. He pointed out that even when scraping back to the gel coat, (with the owners permission) it has been expoxy coated, the reading stayed the same. This guy is thorough and i trust his judgement when he says no GRP boat has ever sunk because of high moisture and the max they can absorb is 5% but he says that this type of reading will affect resale value.

My question is - WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIGH MOISTURE READING IN THE HULL AND WHAT ARE LIKELY CAUSES - given there are no blisters or wicking lines

His suggestion is that it is possible to lift and dry the boat for 3 months in the off season and if the levels remain, remove the gel and re-epoxy once the levels have dropped - a cost of about $12K.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:43   #25
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My two cents is that a fiberglass hull is NOT an impervious surface. Rest it in the water long enough, and it will eventually absorb some moisture.

Depending on a wide variety of factors (age of the hull, how it was laid up, weather, humidity levels, avg daily temps, how you store the boat onshore, etc), a 3 month layup may or may not be sufficient to reduce/eliminate the moisture level readings.

My first take would be to walk away and find a comparable boat without the high moisture readings. My second take would be to build the cost of repair into my final price to the seller. This might include the cost to pull the boat, pull the mast and store it in a facility where you can dry it out (temp/humidity-controlled shed/tent). Clearly on some boats, the cost to repair may exceed the value of the boat.

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 07-11-2010, 19:18   #26
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Thanks Mike - I am seriously reconsidering the purchase given the survey report. The survey report was 22 pages long and included 278 photos listed on flickr - This guy was good - because he was from out of town he lived aboard for 3 days and went through everything he could.

The wet hulls were my biggest concern but the boat is 15 years old so there is legitimacy in the reading. That aside I think the investment in a good reputable surveyor who knew the style of boat will have saved me a substantial amount of unexpected repair work.

Thanks again for the advice Mike - If anyone wants a recommendation on a surveyor I would glady recommend this guy. Matt West from Marine surveys UK

An example of one line from the report
The antifouling was removed in 53 patches approximately 50mm x 50mm at random around the hull below the water line. The coating was scraped back only to the green epoxy coating so as not to damage it. While scraping I was looking for evidence of wicking or blistering of the FRP and once antifouling was removed all patches were checked with 10x magnification
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Old 07-11-2010, 20:39   #27
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When I was preparing my last boat for sale, I engaged a licenced marine surveyor to give me an idea what to anticipate when a buyer came along and what the market price would be. There is a certain risk in this because if you have knowledge of deficiencies and there is a disclosure clause in the Agreement for Sale, you have to let the buyer know what problems the vessel has that you know about. Because I'd done significant upgrades, replacement of electronics, etc., and had a written maintenance schedule log, I had a pretty good idea what she was worth but it was helpful to get another opinion other than my own. I had the boat for 5 years, we lived aboard and it was kept in really fine nick so the survey came out very well. When a prospective buyer had his surveyor look at the boat as a condition of purchase, both surveys agreed on the condition and were very close on the valuation. This was worth a lot in closing the sale. But it was most helpful to me in establishing a reasonable selling price.
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