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post #10 of Old 09-21-2009
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I had one major issue on my 43DS (the rudder fell off) but that was a problem that the surveyor and I didn't see and caused by a combination of a grounding or reversing into something early on in the charter life and subsequent corrosion and electrolytic corrosion at the hull/rudder join where it was hidden.
Typically the sails on a Caribbean Sunsail charter boat will have less hours on them than the engine - I'm not kidding! The sacrifical parts of the genoa and mainsail (if it is roller-furling like mine) will be nearing their end-of-life and the bimini Sunbrella material might have another 2 years or so in it. The engine should be checked carefully by the surveyor as it will have seen a lot of use and perhaps some pretty rough treatment. The same applies to the transmission. Generally, unless grounded, the hull won't have seen undue stresses. Jeanneaus have a deck-stepped mast but often have the compression post sink in at the keel (that's what both my surveyors mentioned) and the keel bolts should be checked, even if they are epoxied in. This is because the bilge is so small that any standing water will submerge the keel bolts.
A lot depends upon how the vessel has been phased out of service. If the owners are savvy, they will have a professional survey done on phaseout and will ensure that Sunsail fixes issues that otherwise might be put down to "normal wear and tear" and not addressed.
After getting the 43DS I spent a long time cleaning the boat. By "cleaning" I mean not only removing dirt but taking things apart. This has the advantage of removing years worth of grime in very hard to get at places, but you will find things that are worn out and about to fail before they actually fail. In addition, you get to know all your systems intimately so that when thez do fail you will know where to start on fixing them.
I already a generator and AC on board the boat so I ended up not buying new gear, just upgrading existing stuff. The running rigging was replaced in toto, as were the docklines. I took apart and cleaned the winches and pretty much anything that needs grease, ball bearings or had moving parts. This took many, many hours but didn't cost much in terms of parts.
In my case I was the in the BVI, so sailing to St. Maarten for spares and supplies wasn't too difficult - where are you looking at purchasing your boat?
One issue I did have with Sunsail was that it took over a year to get my ownership papers - but that was partly because the boat had been transferred to Sunsail and their internal channels are quite long. Luckily, the "letter of running" in lieu of new papers accepted everywhere I went.

The new boat is a different story - it was not intended for charter use and has all the "mod cons" installed already.

You can PM me for more information and I can show you my correspondance with the seller regarding our differences of opinion on the definition of "fair wear and tear" when it came to fixing things up on boat before I would accept it; nothing major but probably best not put out in public.

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