I agree this is "on the bubble" on whether to pay for a survey.
Surveyors understand that part of their job is to find enough wrong to pay for their fee in a price reduction. But $13,000 doesn't leave a lot of room for the owner. If you don't think he'll come down and instead let you walk, the survey costs you real money
As mentioned, figure out your insurance
before deciding not to get a survey.
Whether you get a survey or not, I'd do it in this order:
Take the boat out with your friend. Sail and motor
. The motor
should start, not overheat, get pretty close to full RPM
underway, and shouldn't smoke too much with no black, blue or white smoke (it should be grey). The sails
should all set. The bilge pump
shouldn't be going off every 10 minutes when sailing. Nothing should flex in alarming ways.
When you walk on the deck
it shouldn't go "squish" in a lot of places. As mentioned, the hull
on this boat has no core
- that's good. Almost every 30 year old boat of this era has some deck core rot
- probably for decades. I wouldn't sail to Australia
in the deck but it's a manageable problem for a boat used in typical coastal sailing. As long as it's only small areas, you can fix it or leave it for the next owner.
If you get by this and still want to buy the boat, haul it. If you are having a survey, save some money and just check the big stuff. Surveyors are pretty useful for structural problems (rot, collision
, delamination). Don't waste your money having them tell you about little things like where to put another hose clamp. And understand that a 30 year old $13,000 boat is going to need some money and time put it into it after you buy it.
Survey or not, it's just too risky to not see the bottom with the boat hauled - especially the keel joint. But it's 90%+ if the rest of the boat is OK. If no deal killer appears, buy the boat and have the yard paint the bottom before relaunch so the haul fee isn't wasted.
Anyways, that's what I'd do.