Last Saturday we did our first and hopefully last survey. Let me tell you about that little adventure.
Galina spent a lot of time trying to find a surveyor. We were looking for someone who is accredited either by the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) or by the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS). Check out the links above if you are in the market for a surveyor yourself. Now there are not that many of them to begin with, but finding one on relatively short notice in the beginning of the sailing season is pretty difficult. The first person who was referred to us by a good friend was unable to make the trip over to the marina, so we called the surveyor he recommended. This surveyor was not available for the next couple of months, so again we contacted the person he recommended. That went on for a few more rounds until we found one that was available and within a short driving distance.
After spending a little more time coordinating all the involved parties’ schedule we were set with an official survey date of June 4th, 2016. As that date came close the broker reached out to to re-confirm the time, that’s when the broker informed us that our surveyor had forgotten to add Talaria’s survey to his calendar and made another commitment for that day.
After a bit of commotion, we rescheduled for the following Saturday. While not ideal, we were happy to know it would only be delayed by 1 week.
As we got closer to our new survey date, rescheduled for June 11th, 2016, we received a call from the seller’s broker again. This time he informed us that the marina will not be able to perform the haul out at the scheduled time of 10 am due to an ebbing tide. The tide meant that the marina would have to do the haul out very early in order to have the boat back in by 10 am. No trains get in to Oyster Bay that early. The earliest was 9:47 am hence our original 10 am appointment. We knew from reading other people’s experience that we definitely wanted to be there for the survey. This would allow us to meet our surveyor in person and hear first hand what issues were found during the survey. Since this was our first survey we definitely had a lot of questions.
Again after a bit of back and forth, we came up with a solution. We would take the 6:12 am train to Hicksville and hitch a ride with the seller’s broker to Oyster Bay. This would allow the boat to get hauled out in time to get it back in the water before 10, as well as allow us to be present for the survey.
June 11th 2016.
We arrived in Hicksville, the broker is on time and takes us straight away to Oyster Bay Marine Center. Talaria has been pulled out of the water and our surveyor was already on site. So off to work he went. As the hull started to dry in the late spring sun, the surveyor began inspecting the propeller, and tapping the hull with his mallet. This was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. For those unfamiliar with that process, a big part of the survey is checking the structural integrity of the boat. The mallet hitting part, is meant for the surveyor to hear if there is any water in the hull. After checking the hull all around and the rudder. He proceeded to check the paint.
The surveyor explained to us that the boat would be a good candidate for a full hull stripping, since it looked like the current owner just kept adding new paint over old peeling paint. While this is something we want to address at some point, it is by no means something we have to do right away. Other than that the hull and rudder appeared in good shape which was excellent news.
Once the hull check was completed it was time for Talaria to get back in the water. On the boat, our surveyor checked out the cockpit areas and got deep into the lockers. Everything checked out, more or less. We had an interesting issue as we tried to start the engine. Nothing happened… As we checked all the basics, we realized that the batteries were both completely dead, not a great sign. Someone from the marina came and assisted us with some battery chargers, and 15 minutes later we were ready to go. The batteries ended up being fine, they had just been depleted by some light being left on.
Going in the saloon, the surveyor inspected the leak coming from the keel-stepped mast. While those are very common on this type of setup (keel as opposed to deck stepped mast), the Sabre 34 has a design flaw in that there is no drainage hole to allow the water to drain into the bilge. If left unchecked the water will accumulate and overtime rot the floorboards around the mast and that is exactly the issue we have. While we knew about it, we had no idea to what extent Talaria was affected. Our surveyor gave us the low down and made some recommendations as to what should be done.
After a couple more hours on the boat looking over everything (the full survey took over 6 hours), we left with the feeling that structurally the boat was sound and that some repairs needed to be done. Basically all boats will have a small list of things that need to be fixed every year; this boat’s list just happened to be for the last 4 or 5 years making the list significantly longer.
As I publish this, we have just received the final survey for the boat, again there were no surprises. We revised our offer a bit to account for all the past maintenance that has to be done and are currently waiting on word from the seller. In the meantime, check out the video for the survey.