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Old 03-08-2020, 12:32   #1
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Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

Dear sailors,
Getting really close to my dream..
The boat is expected with 38-40(overall) ft with one head and mid 80th production. I will post separate thread for a sea trial aspect
Of course, there will be some specifics to Mexico but I am looking for conventional wisdom from you.
I plan to send my expectations to potential surveyors and get agreement from them prior hiring and paying anything

I expect the surveyor to spend at least 6 hours crawling through all systems and structural components - minus engine and upper rig. One potential surveyor told me 3 hours and this does not sound satisfactory to me.
What time slots expected for each component (structural, plumbing, electric, electronics, sails)
Some put limitations on electric inspection - only with owner present. It is ok with me - owner will be there.
I expect short written summary on issues found, if I decide I don't need full scale report for insurance purpose for additional cost.
Full report... in America I understand it is liability issue.. In Mexico?
What I gain besides insurance purpose for an extra couple of hundred?
How to deal with surveyor if some issue found which prohibit me from purchase or forcing me to re-negotiate the boat price? Pay for hours spent?
Now tough one... If I found the surveyor unprofessional and his attention to details unsatisfactory.. How to handle such event? Boot him out under the tail?
When I pay before/during/after?
Should I keep conversation with surveyor on issues found before discussing it with owner? Or let him declare an issue found clearly and loudly?
How is owner might be involved during the survey? I think he should oversee the process - how closely is up to him.
Should I sit on surveyor shoulders or let him work (once I see he knows what he is doing)and communicate on if he found some issues?
How you manage your interaction with surveyor?
Anything else am I missing?
Many thanks!
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:40   #2
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

Feel like you are micromanaging the Surveyor. I would find a Surveyor with a good reputation, decent credentials (NAMS or SAMS) that your insurance will accept. If you won't be there, explain the situation and arrange phone or Skype consult. Given the current world situation, I'm sure he/she will understand. The surveyor is your counsel, your advocate. Getting their best advice is better done through a respectful, inquisitive relationship, not a rigid check-the-box approach.

My understanding is that boats are selling well and surveyors are quite busy. Finding one in San Carlos (or willing to travel there) may be difficult even without conditions.

Good luck

Peter
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:44   #3
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

I will be present there. I found 3 of them. Not so busy..My concern credentials (NAMS or SAMS)
Should I ask for them and how? Are they renewable? What it means in Mexico? My guess not too much - they don't care liability or any other professional insurance.
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:53   #4
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

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Originally Posted by Ruso View Post
I will be present there. I found 3 of them. Not so busy..My concern credentials (NAMS or SAMS)
Should I ask for them and how? Are they renewable? What it means in Mexico? My guess not too much - they don't care liability or any other professional insurance.
As for a sample report. I would ask for the credentials so you can present to your Insurance Company. In San Carlos, most boats will have an American connection to it so it's not an unusual question.

Peter
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Old 03-08-2020, 14:21   #5
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

Surveyors will not evaluate sails for you, you take them to a sailmaker for that. Here's a link that will help you consider the survey. It was written by boatpoker, one of CF's surveyor members. https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...1-a-78671.html

Good luck with it.

Ann
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Old 03-08-2020, 17:05   #6
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Surveyors will not evaluate sails for you, you take them to a sailmaker for that. Here's a link that will help you consider the survey. It was written by boatpoker, one of CF's surveyor members. https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...1-a-78671.html

Good luck with it.

Ann
Good point. Surveyors will give a general opinion on items. But many buyers have specific trades evaluate rigging, engine/generator (if equipped), and sails as Ann suggests. Just depends on your level of concern and money of course.
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Old 04-08-2020, 10:48   #7
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

My surveys in Mexico take from 4 to 8 hours depending on the boat systems and boat size to 120 feet . I perform to SAMS standard Yacht & Small Craft surveys all over Mexico, but based from La Paz, Baja, Mexico. Life long sailor & boat owner. Malcolm Winter, SAMS AMS #1132.
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Old 04-08-2020, 12:47   #8
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

Russo, wow, you have a steep learning curve ahead of you. I’ve got a boat at Marina Seca in San Carlos I keep on the hard. It is a different world in Mexico. I will teach you a phrase that I hope you remember. “ leave your gringoness at the border’. No one wants to get screwed when buying a boat.
I get that.

If you go down there and try that high pressure ... intense... style... it will not go well. Word travels quickly who respects the Mexican culture and who doesn’t. The reputable guys are so busy they can’t handle all the action. They won’t work with you if you are pushy, demanding, or disrespectful. Trying to get work done down there takes patience and kind peaceful understanding.

You will have a very hard time right now due to border restrictions and heat of summer. I work with the previous manager of the yard for 10 plus years. Best guy in San Carlos. He told me two weeks ago almost no one working. Everyone hiding out from Covid. From Tucson to San Carlos is about 5-6 hour drive. Great highway and zero problems. Drive it 5 times in the last 3 years.

I don’t know any surveyors there. Your recourse for an unethical survey or just something undiscovered by a surveyor... good luck... it is Mexico ... not the USA. If you think you can get someone to crawl around inside a boat for 6/8 hours... won’t happen. Do you know that there are general surveys versus engine surveys versus electrical surveys versus rigging surveys? MAy I recommend that you make a good friend of a knowledgeable sailor? A survey isn’t a document that says a boat is good to go. It is more like a document that says these are things that need looking into. The surveyor can’t possibly be on the hook for every little thing missed. My god, can you imagine that for 500-800 dollars they can be sued because one of the tangs on the mast comes loose due to corrosion one week after your sea trial.

Boats on the hard suffer their own problems in the Sonora heat of summer. Wasps build mud homes in orifices. Halyards rot. On and on. You need to learn a lot about boats and take your time. There are good boats to be had there. But you are a neophyte and it would be easy to be deceived and with little recourse if you pick poorly.
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Old 04-08-2020, 12:48   #9
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruso View Post
I will be present there. I found 3 of them. Not so busy..My concern credentials (NAMS or SAMS)
Should I ask for them and how? Are they renewable? What it means in Mexico? My guess not too much - they don't care liability or any other professional insurance.
Either SAMS or NAMS. Both have similar requirements but in my opinion NAMS leans more to the commercial vessel side.

Remember SAMS or NAMS is just the minimum baseline..... somebody graduated at the bottom of the class and some are just outright lazy. There are some good ones but due diligence is warranted.

Do not hire any surveyor without closely scrutinizing samples of their work.
Take a look at some of these samples and you'll see why.
Sample, Example Marine Survey Report
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:05   #10
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

As good strategy while hiring the surveyor is to instruct him to do the maximum to find a valid reason to discourage you from buying that boat, so a kind of opposite mind set than asking if the boat of good enough for buying.

Note that surveying with a buy perspective is not the same as surveying for an insurance perspective.
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Old 06-08-2020, 11:42   #11
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

I study a few examples sent me by couple member's here big thank you.
Huge difference between some of them - very helpful.
"Discourage me from buying" - this is exactly right.
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Old 07-08-2020, 14:30   #12
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Re: Sailboat survey strategy in Mexico (San Carlos) or other third-world

About 12 years ago, I needed an insurance survey in San Carlos. The first thing the guy asked me was “What do you want the survey to say?”

The posters who say "Tell the surveyor you’re looking for reasons NOT to buy the boat” have got the right idea.

A hull survey will tell you little or nothing about the state of the sails, rigging, motor or electrical systems unless it’s something really awful and really obvious.

When I bought my current boat, I had a hull survey, a rigging survey and flew in an engine surveyor. The last saved me $20k.

Good luck.
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