The most important thing is to get a survey
done by a COMPETENT shipwright also qualified as a marine
surveyor--one who is not in cahoots with the broker listing the vessel and who will give you a proper appraisal.
boats are easy to survey
becauise any problems are obvious. Alloy boats can be dangerous and look OK--and ghlass boats will probably have some osmosis
which will have to be fixed if someone has not already done so--if made from polyester resin. Wooden boats can have rot
which is only detectable by giving the timber a bit of a tap with a padded rubber hammer.
The way to fix osmosis
is to grind it out and dry it--then expoxy-repair the damaged spots and replace with epoxy
the entire gelcoat
, finishing it with coats of two-pot polyurethane
Engines need to be checked by a proper diesel
machanic--but usually they last a long time. If it is burning a lot of oil
it may be glazed up from being run at idle to charge batteries--one can add catalyst to the fuel
and run the motor
under load instead of raising the sails
to get rid of the glaze--lotsa luck--
needs to be checked by a yacht rigger--and all blocks in the mast
need to be free and properly lubricated or even replaced. Halyards may need to be replaced. If the mast
has to come out for re-finishing the rigging wire might require replacement too. Learn how to lock-splice rigging wire over thimbles and serve it with marline and oversew with painted canvas--much better than compression
fittings, although Talurit is certainly quicker.
There are a lot of shippy things you can do yourself. You can fix a basic glass or foam sandwich hull
yourself if you read up on it and are quite meticulous but I would rather earn money doing the things I do well and pay someone else to do the things they do well--and better than I could. I will look on though--so next time I will know how.
Steel vessels require frequent touch-ups to paint
. This requires a hot water
rinse, brush off of paint--quick flash with a blowlamp and while warm a good dose of zinc rich epoxy
primer. Repaint to match surrounds with same paint
Perhaps you could work in a shipyard to pick up a few skills while being paid--
As a yachtie you will need not only the basic knowledge of how to sail--not that difficult in itself--but you will need to learn seamanship, which is what survival is all about. You need to have basic mechanic's skills and understand your engine
. You need to know how to bleed the injector pump--because if it gets air into the fuel
lines it will stop and refuse to start--usually when you have a rising sea and a lee shore--
If you read up on the fitting out of vessels you will soon learn what needs to be done--then you need to watch someone competent to see how they go about it.
You will also need to know the idiosyncracies of your own boat--because even identical vessels from the same manufacturer seem to have subtle unexplainable differences--perhaps a slightly more slippery hull or a slightly better cut or shape to the sails. Mine has a tendency to surf down waves and bury her nose--so she has to have some ballast moved aft so she will drag her bum a bit if things get gurly out there.
I think you will do fine--just make sure you trail a dead man's rope
with catspaw loops for feet in it at two feet intervals along the rope
, and always wear your harnesses when above decks and keep them clipped to lifelines
All of the ancillary work, fitting deck
lockers etc you can do. They double as spray guards and seats as well as a stash for fishing gear
, extra ropes etc. You need rudimentary carpenter
skills and a few clamps and a sanding
machine. A lot of blocks, deadeyes, fairleads and roller tackle items you can make yourself--some love to do this kind of thing. I use Australian hardwoods such as Tallow wood, but I am sure there are American timbers suitable.
and rubbing, painting and antifouling can all be done by unskilled people. I know--