Re: Newbe with no experience buys big boat
I think what happened in my case was that the broker got "too cozy" with the sales rep. They laughed and geegawed together before the survey was conducted and exchanged cards. I think they both put Serenity in the "hopeless" category and me in the "clueless" category (or "more money than sense") and figured it wouldn't matter anyhow if the survey was, ah, "light and forgiving" in order to separate the nerd from his money, no doubt money easily acquired from inflated tech stock prices, so it's not really stealing! For his next sales, the broker would know which surveyor to call to get a "gentle" survey. Real estate appraisers operate in the same manner. Brokers know which appraisers to call to get a "generous" appraisal on a property.
For the shakedown, we were lucky that Labor Day weekend, when everyone was available, shaped up to be fairly heavy and windy but not dangerous, so we could test the boat in moderate seas.
I'm not sure if a gumby suit would be worth the expense and storage space - probably depends on your budget and when and where you sail. I think we could say that if each person was wearing one, it would take up a lot of space on the Pudgy! I always doubted the Pudgy was truly suitable for four adults as a lifeboat anyhow. Note on the website the four adults each sit on the gunwhales! You wouldn't do that in a moderate sea! The Pudgy is quite small - eight feet - I would not recommend it for real for four adults, maybe not even for three unless they were pretty small to begin with. It's a judgement call.
I'd be careful with liferafts certified in foreign countries - it should be repacked and recertified in the US anyhow. A liferaft packed five years ago is not much use. You need to be sure the thing will inflate! Compressed gas has a way of leaking out over years . . .