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Old 28-01-2019, 04:14   #1
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Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

60 year old 1st time buyer. Looking at a small heavy displacement cruiser. I have been watching 2 different models for months, and nothing is perfect, big surprise. I am looking to spend 30K USD. I live in Portugal and understand that for what I want to buy, I will be buying out of the country. UK most likely. Now a boat has popped up in Scandinavia.

I am still working on my RYA Day Skipper. So I am a bit "cart in front of the horse".

The vessel I have found was a factory hull with the buyer finishing. The brand and model is normally a high dollar, per foot resale. This one is higher than the others, but has almost all of the features I have been looking for. It is a 1999, one owner boat. An engineer, who seems to have used only the best materials he could obtain. Unlike a lot of ratty looking boats, this thing is...well, shipshape. Every item is labeled, including electronics and engine compartment. Customization in cabinetry so no loose wires, microphones and even cup holders. He insulated the hull. All the original owners manuals are there for everything. He pretty clearly spared little expense on gear and went with in mast furling, folding prop, top notch bronze valves. Clearly he loved his boat.

The owner, clearly geared up for single/short handed, bluewater sailing. His gear is definitely offshore. The boat lives on the dry, in winter, in the Baltic. Covered, mast in a heated mast shed. Sails and canvas are taken down and stored each season, in an indoor loft. She has been stored on the dry since 2015. I assume either death or disablement took the builder/owner out of the picture, in that year.

I have a survey of that same year. It's pretty solid but only goes so far. As it's on the dry, surveyor did not turn on any electronics, turn over the engine, flush a toilet, turn on the Gas, pressure test tanks, dismantle valves, but mechanically inspected everything.

He found no defects and notes the meticulous care of the vessel. He suggests several vital changes that all are pretty small, but due to changes in regulations. A valve regulator change on Gas tanks, replacement of flexible tubing for fuel, a 30MA RCD for shore power, stainless clips on valves.

The issues of concern are tied into the age of things, like standing and running rigging (examined and found no chafing, breaks or rust), age of sails (which he did not examine). He has no service history, nor does the builders son, know the age of either the sails or rigging. The son says he assumes that the rigging and sails are original.

16 seasons in the water, 19 winters on the hard. Masts, booms, wire and sails in dry storage.

I assume I must change out the running and standing rigging. I am trying to figure out how to find a capable surveyor.

Storage, berthing, cranes are covered for a year, which buys me time to finish my cert.

Basically I make an offer dependant upon the survey, then rig it and sea test it with the surveyor, so he/she can run the engine and tinker with electronics?

Final note, The surveyor appears to have been flown in for his survey. English speaking. Yacht designers and surveyors association and Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors.

Should I look at bringing him back for a more thorough survey, 3-4 years later?
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Old 28-01-2019, 16:46   #2
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

You could get a mechanic to run the engine while still in storage if the yard will let you. Same with the electronics you could turn them all on and of yourself, but you will probably need a new battery. You are probably better of supplying that yourself. The toilet might be a gamble not being used in 4 years, you can always dump a bucket of water in it and see if it emptyís? The standing rig wires for sure will need replacing, the sails might surprise you and be ok? Plenty of boats I survey I would swear that the sails have never been used. Surveyors normally do not dismantle valves or any equipment.
Definitely get a new survey with a surveyor who speaks a language you are most comfortable with.
I would not worry about your experience to much, a couple of weeks on the water in your boat is usually a very steep learning curve. You could get a delivery skipper to help deliver her back to Portugal. I surveyed a 70 foot boat last week and that is the owners first boat! Thatís what I call the horse before the cart.
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Old 29-01-2019, 01:20   #3
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

So I would hire a mechanic as well to check the engine seperately. The boat does not need to be in the water to run the engine? I assumed the sea water was a coolant, but thinking about that, I realize it would eat up the engine.

The surveyor who previously checked the boat seemed good and has a reputation for finding minutia. To use him again means flying him in from Spain. I am concerned about hiring a local, who would be an unknown quantity. I will assume the rigging must go, even if no problems can be found.

The builders son is looking for receipts to see if they were changed out at some point.

Great idea about a battery to check electronics.

Any suggestions of things I am being blind to?
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Old 29-01-2019, 04:36   #4
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

You are right, sea water cools the engine and usually the mechanic puts a hose into the sea water inlet to keep the engine cool. You will find there are sacrificial anodes on your sea water cooling system to help prevent internal engine corrosion.
You just have to remember that she is an older boat and will have issues that you will not find until you start using her.
Bargain hard and be prepared to walk away.
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Old 29-01-2019, 04:56   #5
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

I would suggest that don't look for perfection. There is no such thing; much less in a boat! What I mean is check that mainly the boat is good. That stuff in general works the way it should. Make sure you are paying a fair price for that model. If you like the boat, go ahead. There will be no perfect boat. No surveyor will find everything. You will find a lot on the go. I get your anxiety, I bought a boat, my first boat, in another country, after actually flying in to survey a different boat! I am now a happy owner of my Passport 40. If it feels ok in your gut, go ahead. There are no bad choices, only life experiences. Relax, make sure it's not a dud, and just go with it.
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Old 29-01-2019, 09:30   #6
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

I agree with all that is said. I don't think you can expect to find much better that that.

An older, well cared for boat, treasured by the original owner with the skills and experience to know good maintenance and quality is a gem. Part of the fun and adventure of sailing is using intuition and going with your gut.

Sounds like you really like her.
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Old 29-01-2019, 09:48   #7
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

I'll add, I bought a small boat, out of state and based just on photos, from a retired electrical engineer. The electrical work turned out to be really crappy, but everything else about the boat was top notch.
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Old 29-01-2019, 10:19   #8
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

Slightly off-topic, perhaps, but I would strongly recommend that you join the Cruising Association Baltic section - lovely people, very active group, willing to help - and plan on spending at least one summer up there. Great learning ground, some lovely places to visit, great facilities everywhere for getting stuff fixed. A first foray into the North Sea can be a brutal experience. Perfectly do-able, and easy if you ‘get it right’, but there are very strong tides, and few safe refuges. And it is busy, with a lot of big shipping.
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Old 29-01-2019, 10:21   #9
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

With your budget, plan on at least another $30,000 in the next three years, on what I don't know, but whatever it is, it won't be cheap - been there, done that twice. Won't bore you with my experience, yours will be different. But something has suffered due to age and deterioration, it just isn't obvious. But a good boat is a good boat so if you feel in your gut this is the one, get it, just don't think your expenses are done because the last guy did a great job; you're buying an older boat.
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Old 29-01-2019, 13:31   #10
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

I often see this word "survey" or "surveyor" and I'm guessing what it means depends on what country you live in?
In Australia a boat MUST be in survey for commercial use. (charter, fishing, taxi etc) The survey is done by a Gov man and amongst other things, particular notice is made to safety. (life jackets, fire eqip, fencing, gates & gate catches, righting angle/carrying capacity etc)
To buy a boat in Australia it would be strange to contact & employ that man.
It'd make more sense to employ a shipwright or builder/repairman/business?
A friend recently had to have a "survey" done for insurance purposes....... It was going to cost a fortune but by getting a shipwright to fill in the paperwork was cheap enough to throw a party....
Maybe this subject should have been in a separate thread for further clarification of that "survey" word....???
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Old 29-01-2019, 14:21   #11
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceS View Post
I often see this word "survey" or "surveyor" and I'm guessing what it means depends on what country you live in?
In Australia a boat MUST be in survey for commercial use. (charter, fishing, taxi etc) The survey is done by a Gov man and amongst other things, particular notice is made to safety. (life jackets, fire eqip, fencing, gates & gate catches, righting angle/carrying capacity etc)
To buy a boat in Australia it would be strange to contact & employ that man.
It'd make more sense to employ a shipwright or builder/repairman/business?
A friend recently had to have a "survey" done for insurance purposes....... It was going to cost a fortune but by getting a shipwright to fill in the paperwork was cheap enough to throw a party....
Maybe this subject should have been in a separate thread for further clarification of that "survey" word....???

In the US, it means just the latter. Someone with qualifications "surveys" the boat, and gives a report on the condition of its hull, systems, rigging - so any future owner knows what is solid and properly functional on the boat, and what needs repair, etc. for its intended purpose.
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:28   #12
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

You should make sure that the builder complied with the Recreational Craft Directive which applies to any boat between 2.5m and 24m manufactured and brought to market after 1998. It should have the CE plate, certificate of conformity, owners handbook etc etc etc.

I think the regs changed after 2003 regarding homebuilds but I can't say for sure.
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Old 07-02-2019, 01:57   #13
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

Gaucho: The boat isn't perfect, but it is so shockingly close that it has captivated me. It needs an electric Windlass with cockpit control and AIS. Thats it, it literally has everything else I want or need. It is all a matter of condition and currently LOCATION. It is in Scandinavia and because of the Schengen rules, I have had to cancle my meeting with the owner.

Bruce: I am looking for a SAMS or NAMS member for my surveyor. Someone with a good reputation. I may have one located on site. I really don't want to fly one in if I dont have to.

RSN48: yeah well, I know and fear my budget vs reality. I am trying to get a boat in the best possible condition, but will have to spend up front to do so. This is a 20 year old boat. Of that time, she may have been in the water 51 months or about 4 years, 3 months. The other 15 years, 9 months appear to have been annual storage on the dry. Deterioration is more of a factor than wear. I have seeming good standing rigging and sails. They are cleaned and stored indoors for that entire period, so while rigging is typically changed out in 10 years, does SS rigging who has been stored almost 16 of those years need replacement? I understand that there is electronic testing that goes beyond visual checks. I assume I will go over budget by at least 30%. But I am pretending I don't know it.

Noiseykate: The boat will likely need to stay up there for a year, because my schedule is very heavy this summer and honestly, I am not yet competent to sail her home. The following summer i will sail her back to Portugal. I think the Baltic looks like a great, short season, cruising ground, but I live here near the med. If I sail up there, it would be short term, but who knows? Things change.

My current problem is getting togwether with the owner and not losing him because Schengen throws me off the continent for 3 months. I am considering offering him a deposit, but essentially it means he loses market time for 3 months.

Sigh
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:44   #14
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

How does one find such a boat in Europe?


Sounds great.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:28   #15
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Re: Anxiety, buying abroad and surveyors

I have really been looking only at a very few specific boats. I am already in europe, so my browser tends to direct me to European sites. Apollo duck, The Yacht Market, yacht world, Boatshed and in the case of Sadler the Sadler Yachts at Lucasyachting. I look and look, learn as much about the model I want and and go from there.

I read the Description carefully and look and see what is listed. I did a dollar per Meter analysis to get average, low and high prices.Then I look minutely at the photos. Water staining, rust, cracks and go over each photo by enlarging them. Cleanliness, Organization, mildew spots on sails and canvas, clarity of glass and plexiglas, clenliness of engine compartment, do they list AGES of items and hours on the motor. Brands are important to me. I want to see name brand anchors and Ihave brand preferences like Furlex.

Then I look at the story. One owner, three owners, was it a rental. Or no story listed? I want to see evidence of someone more obsessive compulsive than me. Someone who builds their own box to hold the chart dividers on their chart table. I also like to see boats with modifications. This tells me they really USED their boat.

Last, in my case, I want to see gear and fittings that are cruiser/durability oriented that have been well maintained.

If it pasts all of those tests, then I start to think about contacting the owner. I think I have seen 3 boats in 18 months that interest me. This is the first one I am actually making an offer on.
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