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Old 11-01-2006, 11:44   #1
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The Survey

So I think i have found a boat that seems like an incredible deal and am planning to go see it in a week and a half. This boat is a 1977 columbia 8.7 and has been set up for offshore passagemaking meaning it comes with equipment like GPS, radar, liferaft, autopilot, ssb, and heavy duty sails. it seems really cheap and I won't know why until i see it. i am going to sign a contract and make a $1000 deposit so no one can buy it before i get out to see it. once this is done, it will be up to the survey to decide how great of a deal it is. Here's my question/s:

What kind of survey do i need to have done at the minimum?
Will the surveyor check the electronic equipment?
How do I go about finding a reasonable surveyor in the area?
What is a reasonable amount to pay for all of this?
If someone else recently had a survey done, and they rejected the boat, can I find out and use that surveyor's findings?

Obviously I am new to this whole process, can anyone help me out?
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Old 11-01-2006, 12:33   #2
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A "purcahse survey" run about $20.00 per foot here in FL.

Don't go for the cheapest surveyor, that is like shopping for the cheapest parachute......

The surveyor may turn on the electronics, but I doubt he is going to "test" each piece.

The radar you can check out your self: If it paints an echo somewhere out there, it is probably working.

Ya need to do a radio check on the SSB, try channel 824 and ask for WLO for a radio check..If they say "loud and clear", ya are in good shape..

If they can;t hear ya or don't respond, that could be a problem.

Try the autopilot on different headings, if it can hold the heading most of the time, it is a good beginning, but you won't know for sure until ya tried it in following seas, with a following wind.

Stay out of the surveyors face while he is digging around, but make sure you pick his brain when he takes a breather....

He works for you and nobody else, you can ask him anything.

Good Luck.
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Old 11-01-2006, 14:19   #3
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Also, I bought my boat from a distance, so I hired the surveyor to test out many items listed in the boat's equipment list.

It cost me about $300 more for this type of survey, but the peace of mind was great. He tested electronics, AC units, refrigeration, etc...
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Old 11-01-2006, 14:38   #4
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Re: The Survey

Quote:
Tigerlily once whispered in the wind:
What kind of survey do i need to have done at the minimum?
Will the surveyor check the electronic equipment?
How do I go about finding a reasonable surveyor in the area?
What is a reasonable amount to pay for all of this?
If someone else recently had a survey done, and they rejected the boat, can I find out and use that surveyor's findings?

Obviously I am new to this whole process, can anyone help me out?
At a minimum, you want a buyer's pre-purchase survey. Your surveyor will check the hull and structure, and check all the boat's systems. As for the electronic equipment, this basically means turning them on to see if they "light up." It does not typically involve testing them for accuracy or anything like that.

You may also want to commission an engine survey from a qualified mechanic, a rig survey from a qualified rigger, and have the sails checked out by a qualified sailmaker. Most marine surveyors will provide only general observations of these three areas. All of this, of course, does cost money so you have to balance that against the cost of the boat, its size and complexity, and your intended use of the boat and your own capabilities to make judgements about these things.

Survey Reports are the property of the person who commissioned and paid for the survey. What makes you suspect that a previous prospective buyer may have surveyed the boat and then rejected it? A recent reduction in the asking price might be an indicator.

As to finding a surveyor, I recommend (in addition to checking the SAMS and NAMS membership directories) asking boatyard repair managers.

You can read about my recent experience with the purchase and survey process here.

Regards,
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Old 11-01-2006, 15:05   #5
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call saxton documentation,inc #954 7646702 in lauderdale the are great and can help you with your needs and legal procedures....jt
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Old 11-01-2006, 15:31   #6
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Re: Re: The Survey

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Survey Reports are the property of the person who commissioned and paid for the survey. What makes you suspect that a previous prospective buyer may have surveyed the boat and then rejected it? A recent reduction in the asking price might be an indicator.
So do boat buyers share this information with each other? I suppose the broker keeps the identities of the other bidders secret. It seems like such a waste of money to have another surveyor come and do the same stuff if someone had already had that done once. But I guess that's just how wheelin and dealin works.
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Old 11-01-2006, 16:15   #7
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The only people that have a copy of the report are the surveyor and the potential buyer. A broker would know what killed the deal, but usually would not have the report. The broker would give you the name of the buyer that walked and you could offer to buy the survey, usually at 30% to 50% of initial cost. Sometimes the broker may get the dead buyer to give him a copy. The broker asked me if I would when I walked on a boat this Fall. I said sure - for $300. The next buyer may want to offer me $ for that survey. If I just handed it over, any chance of recoop would be lost. Other guy's surveys make good reading, but since you did not attend the survey and probably do not know the surveyor, you may not learn much. A typed report is much different than being there and having all those extra conversations. They aren't in the report. You should plan to take notes.

Larry
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Old 11-01-2006, 16:22   #8
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It seems like such a waste of money to have another surveyor come and do the same stuff if someone had already had that done once. But I guess that's just how wheelin and dealin works.
Well, buyers don't share it because they don't know each other.

Surveyors are all different, one is not 100% correct in his evaluation.

If he was a doctor, ya would want a second opinion..That is rare in the boat-buying business.

Pick yer surveyor carefully.

The worst case I have seen is this:

I knew the boat, a Fuji 35. Sailed on it many times and the owner was a friend.

When it was time to sell, the buyers from out of town asked my friend (The seller) to find a surveyor.

He of course found the "easiest" one and the only negative on the survey was a burned out light-bulb in the head.
I knew that the boat had a rotten core in the deck and some other "old boat" issues, but it was not my business.

I did a few "broker" deals here in Ft. Lauderdale and because I am a honest guy, I booked the toughest surveyor for this CSY 44 that I was trying to sell for a friend of mine.

That back-fired, the survey report was so serious that it scared the buyers away, after they had payed for the survey and sea-trial and haul-out, etc.

The buyers refused to show me the survey, and the surveyor could not give me a copy because the buyers "owned" the survey.

I called up the surveyor and asked what the problem was?
He said the boat was good and a good buy for the price and the issues was stuff like a list...(Caused by too many tool-boxes or batteries on one side... )

Another issue was that it looked like electronics had been ripped off and sold. (Wires hangin, holes in the panels)

Not a big deal, old electronics are worthless, and better be removed anyway.
Newer electronics would be more valuable on the vessel, but the buyers did not know that, they thought they were being screwed and that somebody had removed valuable stuff....Not.
(20 year old electronics are not worth a dime.)

In reality the boat was an excellent deal, new bottom job, new standing and running rigging, new anchors/chain, new Caribe Rib dink with new motor, new hatches, new $10,000 paint job, etc, etc, etc,

The survey however looked so grim that the buyers ran away from the deal of the century...Sad.

If ya get a "bad" survey, have somebody explain each write-up, instead of panicking because the boat had a "list", or other stuff that is not important.
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Old 11-01-2006, 16:46   #9
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One word of caution, before you plunk down your money for a survey on a Columbia 8.7, these are just plain poor boats. While this boat may have a lot of gear, these were miserable sailing boats in most regards, and frankly given their uncomfortable motion and extreme tendancy to roll steer, they would be an extremely poor choice for offshore. The whole wide body concept lead to boats that handled poorly both in light and heavy air, and which exhibited all of the worst sailing characteristics of the Fastnet Disaster era IOR boats.

1977-79 was also a low point in build quality at Columbia, occuring just before the company went belly up and was bought out from the banks. It was also at the height of their blister problem. Frankly, Hunter 30's of that general era were substantially better constructed and were way better sailing boats as well.

As to the specifics of your question, previous buyers will sometimes offer to sell their survey to the next buyer to come along. There are several problems with that. You do not have access to the surveyor to ask questions about his findings, the boat may have continued deteriorating, and it may be impossible to reach the previous prospective buyer. It is rare that you can get it from the Seller since Sellers rarely see the actual survey when a deal falls through and so the seller would not have a copy. And if the deal fell through, the seller would be hesitant to give you the name of the buyer who bailed out of the deal. In other words there would be no easy way for you to get ahold of the prior survey.

BTW, if you are considering the boat in Pampano Be, Florida, the photos would suggest a fair amount of water getting below at the portlights and somewhere below the deck forward. The way these boats were constructed, I would expect that this boat may have deck coring problems. I suggest that before you start with a surveyor that you look for delamination of the deck core (bouncing lightly on your toes you should be able to hear and feel if the delamination is pretty extensive). If there is deck core delamination I would definately not spend the money for a survey.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 11-01-2006, 16:50   #10
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BTW, if you are considering the boat in Pampano Be, Florida,
Got a link Jeff?
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Old 11-01-2006, 17:49   #11
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There is a lot of good advise so far and I would agree with most of it. I differ from many people by a desire to get a great deal on anything that I buy. My advise is get a good survey as the others point out. My surveyor gave me some of the best advise that I have heard in some time when he said that the survey was between him and me and what I did with it was my business. He said that I did not need to tell the seller or broker what he said. My boat missed the price by $400. so I could walk away from the deal. The broker wanted to know what the survey said, I would not tell him. He said that he could try to work out a deal if he only knew how much it would be. I gave him the deficiency page and said that I was not sure that I wanted to buy the boat. I did not mean a word of it. After a couple of days of the broker making me crazy I made a cash offer for $29000. less and he took it. The next day I was a boat owner. A survey is very good idea on many levels and can save many dollars in unforseen expenses and can be used as a negotiating tool. Like you I do not like to spend money if I don't need to but a survey is not a area I will skimp on.
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Old 11-01-2006, 18:40   #12
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Old 11-01-2006, 19:42   #13
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Hmm, no mention of SSB, liferaft, radar or such.

Must be a different boat...?

The one on this link looked fairly clean however.

If the motor. hull, mast, rigging, sails and stuff is sound, perhaps the deal would not be too shabby....?

Yes, Mr. Jeff, I know, these here boats are not the Rolls Royce of yachts, but for the right person, and for the right money, it could serve the purpose of island-hopping in good spirits.

For the price of a used Honda Civic ya could buy a floating home and sail South towards the horizon, instead of waiting forever like the "brand new Island Packet crowd with the leather upgrade package and the luxury electronic option".

Aye, go slow and go now......
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Old 11-01-2006, 19:56   #14
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I think that you are missing my point. I am not saying save and wait until you can afford a Rolls Royce. What I am saying, even on limited funds it makes no sense to buy a Yugo when you can buy a good used Honda.

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Old 12-01-2006, 03:50   #15
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I think that you are missing my point.
Roger on that Mr. Jeff.

If a better boat can be had for the same price or less I am indeed with you.
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