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Old 08-24-2001
JeffH
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purchase boat checklist

I have have written first inspection checklist for a friend. Some may not apply in your case.

1. Deck
A. Walk around the deck, bouncing lightly on the ball of you feet. All decks have a little flex and you should be able to tell after a few minutes what is normal. If you hit a place that flexes a bit more than the rest, you should be able to feel whether this is a lighter built area in the boat or an area of delamination. Delamination feels like the parts of the deck are moving separately. It may also feel like the skin only oilcans until it hits the coring. You may be able to hear what''s going on by hitting the area with the flat of your hand. Essentially you would hear a dull, hollow, and less ringing sound where there is delamination. Be aware that bulkheads and hardware attachment can give some false readings.

B. Look for spider cracks. There may be minor spider cracking around fastenings but wholesale cracks, cracks radiating out of a the rail or near bulkhead positions or cracks that extend more than an inch or two may be significant.

C. Look for dings, dents and large repairs. Especially look for large repairs near the rail.

D. If the boat has a fair amount of teak or teak decks, examine the teak for cracking, splits and delamination of the plies or disconnection from the deck. If the teak has been varnished and the varnish has gone opaque or is missing in places this will require stripping and refinishing, a fairly big job. If the teak has been left exposed and the soft wood has been eaten out by strong chemicals or scrubbing, leaving a raised grain, this is a fairly substantive thing to correct requiring a lot of sanding and careful refinishing. This is "fair damage".

E. Examine hatch covers and custom fiberglass parts for damage. One would have no reason to anticipate damage to these items and if badly damaded can monetarily effect the value of the boat.

F. Check deck hardware.
1. Winches: Turn each winch drum on the drum. They should turn easily and not feel gritty or bound up. Turn the drum by hand using your fingers in the handle socket. Turn both ways on two speeds, feeling and listening for the clicks of the pawls and any grinding of metal. It takes a surprisingly large amount of force to turn the drums this way so you may assist with your hand on the drum.
2. Look at the deck blocks for broken or oxidized sheaves. Make sure they turn freely. Blocks for any boat are quite expensive to replace. Look for bent, worn or missing parts.
3. Check rope clutches for operation and damage. This is hard to do if the lines are off the deck
G. Check anchor, anchor rode and windlass. Make sure that the handle is there and that the windlass works right. The lines should not be covered in rust as it attacks the nylon. The chain should not be a pile of rust since it will either be shot or need regalvanizing.
H. Check running lights for cracked lenses.

2 Spars and rigging:
A. In some ways it will be hard to inspect the mast and rigging if it is all disassembled. In some ways it is actually easier.
B Look at the stays and shrouds. They should be free of kinks and bends. They should be free of obvious rust. (If this is a salty environment, then crevice corrosion is a real threat.) Look at terminals for bends cracks and corrosion.
C Look at the running rigging for chafe, broken stands, etc. Rust stains on dacron or nylon line is a bad omen.
D. Check mast mounted hardware and sheaves for wear, damage and proper operation.
E. Closely examine areas around shroud and stay attachment, spreader bases, hardware, and holes in mast where halyards exit looking for small hair line cracks or signs of distortion. On fractional rig or cutters, this will often occur near the jibstay attachment point and jib/ spin. halyard exit box.

4. Sails:
A. I doubt there is much you can do here. Open a bag. If the sails are just stuffed crudely in a bag, unfolded, figure that they will be in poor condition because nothing kills the life of the sail like being crimped (except flogging a sail or sunlight)

If you can try to look at the general consdition of the most used sails and get a sense of their age.

5. Structure:
A. Look for signs of movement wherever two surfaces meet. Look at the joint between the bulkheads and deck and bulkheads and hull (often mostly concealed)
B. Open the bilge and look for ring frames. Are they cracked or separated from the hull? Does the wooden elements look like they have been wet or oil soaked? Are there signs of rot?
C. Open the sail lockers and under berths and look at bulkheads and frames. Are they intact? Does the wooden elements look like they have been wet or oil soaked? Are there signs of rot?
D. Look at the keel bolts. Is there crushing of the glass or spider cracks near the bolts? The bolts should not be a massive pile of rust but a little staining is normal.
E. Are there signs of repairs near the keel? Different colored gelcoat or glass than found in lockers or signs of things being cut and reinstalled.

6. Rudder, Keel and keel joint:
A. Minor hairlines between the ballast keel and hull are normal, especially at the leading or trailing edge. Gaps or obvious signs of movement are not.
B. Look for repairs or crushing at the leading and bottom edge of the keel and at the hull in front of and behind the keel. Hull should be fair and free of hollows or humps.
C. Move the rudder by hand in all axis. There should be minimal play.

7. Interior:
A. You don''t need my help here except open all doors and hatches and look for signs of movement.
B. Look for signs of leaks and look at the condition of the woodwork. Is it beat up? Has the vanish failed? Has water gotten behind the varnish and stained the wood. Look for broken items.

8. Mechanical systems:
A. Normally I would say try everything. Turn it on and see if it works. With a boat that is decommissioned there is no way to do that. The best you can do is turn knobs and throw levers to feel if things feel stiff and unused or gritty.
B. Look for signs of corrosion or poorly performed repairs. Look for loose piping or things that have been cobbled together.

9. Electronics:
A Same as above, normally I would say try everything. Turn it on and see if it works. With the boat decommissioned there is no way to do that. The best you can do is turn knobs and throw levers to feel if things feel stiff and unused or gritty.
B Look for signs of corrosion or poorly performed repairs. Look for loose wiring or things that have been cobbled together.

10. Engine:
A Same as above, normally I would start it up. Shift gears see if it works. With a boat that is decommissioned there is no way to do that. The best you can do feel controls for action and look at the appearance of the engine.
B Look for signs of corrosion, leaks, or poorly performed repairs. Look for loose wiring or things that have been cobbled together.
C. Check the stuffing box and shaft for signs of problems or a scared shaft.
D. Look at the exhaust port. Stick your finger in. It should not come out with a lot of soot or feel greasy.
E. Check the prop to see if it folds properly and smoothly. Check for excessive play in the blades. See what kind of prop it is, rigid, folding, feathering, two or three blade. A fixed three blade may be the wrong prop for what you want to do and a feathering three blade costs a fortune so think about whether you can live with what is there. Look at the engine hour meter and and see if there is a maintenance log. (The absence of both on boats under 35 or so feet is nothing to worry about but bigger more complex boats should have both.)

That''s about it for now.
Good luck
Jeff
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