Excerpted from http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...lboat-598.html
A NOTE ON SELF-SURVEYING:
I recommend a professional survey, prior to purchase. You will, of course, vet the boat yourself, prior to swallowing that expense. There are a number of “small things” that can indicate much about the boat’s design, construction, and maintenance
. Some of these will relate to MY particular design & construction biases, and apply to boats advertised in good or better shape (‘project’ boats will differ).
In no particular order:
There should be no inexplicable impairment. You should satisfy yourself that you understand the cause of any observed deficiencies, and can evaluate the necessity, difficulty & cost of remediation. ie: Stress cracks in gellcoat? Maybe a big problem, maybe not. Do not accept any “mysteries” - they’ll always come back to bite you!
Double the estimated cost of repairs
, when valuing the boat, or negotiating it’s purchase price. Everything is (at least) twice as difficult or expensive as it first appears.
The general condition of a boat speaks volumes about it’s past treatment. The fit & finish of owner improvements (very often they are not) is another good indicator. An abundance of poorly conceived and/or executed details,. Each of which may be insignificant, could be a “deal breaker”. If I don’t like what I can see, what does it tell me about what I cannot see? Lots of small clues (circumstantial?) make for convincing evidence.
Take written notes about everything you observe. Give your surveyor a copy of your complete notes, indicating any particular concerns (especially those that require further investigation and/or explanation).
An outward bent flange connection is subject to all sorts of damage, and indicates a builder
focused on cheap
construction - look for other “shortcuts”. The same holds true for a screwed & bonded connection.
Look for an inside shoebox connection, with accessible fastenings - bolted & backed (@about 4" centres). Check inside at the upper section of hull
& nuts etc., seeking signs of water
intrusion. If so - go it’s (almost always) impracticable to repair or upgrade the hull-deck joint.
& MAST-STEP ETC:
Check the chainplates for signs of leakage, corrosion
, movement or other deficiency.
Inside chainplates that penetrate the deck
are best located on a raised pad, or penetrate the deck
at a sloped (canted) location - so that there is NEVER standing water
at this location. Standing water will always penetrate a chainplate at some point.
Check for a VERY robust connection - the chainplates must be solidly connected to the structure.
I don’t like outside, hull
mounted chainplates. Notwithstanding, the hull must be reinforced at this location, and there should be a clear loading path (someone help me here, I’ve forgotten the terminology) from rig to structure. If you are uncertain (or unhappy with) of how the rig loads are transferred and accepted, there may be a big problem.
at a deck penetration (ie: keel-stepped mast) could indicate serious problems.
Check all fastenings for corrosion
and gesticulation. Dissimilar metals, such as stainless bolts in aluminum
masts/booms etc are best isolated, and migh show aluminum
oxide. Any “ovalling” of bolt-holes, or surface abrasion (base material) will evidence movement. Why was it moving? These type of deficiencies are often easy to fix, but may indicate the P.O.’s competence or thoroughness, and even the original build-quality.
This is getting much longer than I anticipated [remember, double your estimate ], so I’ll just close for now, with a few quick little tell-tales:
pins locked, shackles wired, batteries secured, bilges clean, etc. If the owner doesn’t take care of the little things ...?