Too Small for a Surveyor ?? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-18-2009 Thread Starter
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Too Small for a Surveyor ??

I live near the New Hampshire seacoast and have acquired a 1973 20 foot Paceship P20 trailered daysailer. It is a very simple, open boat. I know it needs some work, but I'm not qualified in a couple areas to evaluate its exact needs.

Specifically, I think the cockpit sole has some wet-core issues and the standing rigging is also suspect.

The question is whether surveyors would scoff at a job like this? I would trailer the boat to him/her, and look for maybe 2 hours of paid time for an assessment (moisture meter) on the hull, deck and standing rigging only and strategies for repairing same. I am capable of making repair assessments on the rest of the boat. My overall goal is to determine:
- whether it is worth fixing
- what needs fixing
- whether I can DIY or should hire it out.

I tried taking the boat to a yard, and wasn't comfortable with their obvious interest in selling me their repair services. So I'm willing to pay for the straight dope.

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post #2 of 7 Old 10-18-2009
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My experience is that surveyers want to put bread on the table like the rest of us and if you have an easy job a smart one will pounce at easy money. Questions answered are alot simpler than a full survey.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-18-2009
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While your boat is a bit on the small side there is no reason why you could not benefit from a brief inspection by a surveyor who knows something about rigging and sailboats. If you are going to insure the boat you may need to have a survey for the ins. company (liability only through your homeowners/auto ins. agent is not a bad idea).
Having said that, there is a lot you can do yourself. One of our illustrious members has made a boat inspection thread with a lot of info in it: Boat Inspection Trip Tips
Part of the equation is what you intend to do with this boat. Having 'professionals' look at it should give you some peace of mind.
Good luck.

"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen

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post #4 of 7 Old 10-19-2009
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Spend $35 on Don Casey's book 'Sailboat Maintenance Manual'. It's a good read and afterwords, you'll be able to do a better job than you'd think in identifying problem areas. There are 130 pages dedicated to inspecting sailboats.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-19-2009
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Depends on what you are paying for the boat?

This is on the small side of what I would think should get surveyed. One thing to consider is there is not many systems to worry about. When I was looking at a Catalina 27, I had called a surveryor and asked his advice. Based on what I told him and the lack of any systems on the boat, he suggested I did not need his service. Of course it was a $4500 boat with new rigging and no motor and no electrical system.

If the boat is fairly basic and you know the following things may need replacing. I would factor that into the purchase. If you do not know much about boats check out Don Casey's "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" or this SN article by SailingDog
Boat Inspection Trip Tips. Between these two resources I felt comfortable doing my own preliminary inspection. If the boat was big enough or complicated enough, I would then hire a surveyor to see what I missed.

On a boat this small and basic there is not a lot there. If there is hull issues and rigging issues, I hoping the running rigging is at least in like new shape. Unless this is your "dream" boat or really cheap I would keep looking. There are a lot of good deals on nice boats out there for cheap.

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post #6 of 7 Old 10-23-2009 Thread Starter
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The boat was free. I've done a great deal of reading and have owned a 17 foot O'Day DS for years.

My biggest bugaboo is the wet core question... the cockpit sole flexes a bit (but only a bit), but Casey's plastic hammer-tap-test yields no information to my un-trained ear. I also question the integrity of the mast step, cuddy floor and stringers. The standing rigging (shrouds & stays) is not really a big problem for me to assess, but I do want an informed opinion on how the spreaders are attached to the mast (seems amateurish and too floppy to me) and the chainplates looked over.

I've heard from a registered local surveyor who has agreed to give me a couple hours (at his location) at a very fair price. If I get from this what I hope to get, I'll have a much better sense of whether this boat is worth fixing, and if so, what specifically needs attention and at what likely cost and degree of effort.

I'll post my experiences after the inspection takes place Halloween weekend.

Thanks all...
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-27-2009
Jerr - Shipwright, rigger
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Glad you've got a reasonable, good surveyor

Surveyors have widely ranging expertise, so it's wise to ask about that - Do they really know your boat or at least similar boats? Ask a few questions about things you know are issues on your boat and that ought to give you a clue on their having a clue.

I'll try to look at this thread later to see if I can help but if I forget, please don't hesitate to ask - Your rig's simple and mounting spreaders is easily understood and straightforward. Here's a quick overview: Your spreaders should have mounting plates bolted or screwed to the mast with one large bolt all the way through the mast to the opposite plate. This bolt goes through a section of aluminum tube, inside the mast that prevents the pressure of the bolt and the spreader from collapsing the mast at this point - That's called the compression tube and if you need to put another in, tape it with masking tape to the end of 1" PVC and wiggle it up 'till it's near the hole, then pull in place with a screwdriver, while inserting the bolt in the other side. This one big bolt takes any force and the other screws or bolts simply keep the spreader base from rotating.

Because the spreader is compression-only, it can be kept in place securely with: proper rig tension (Use a published chart, available from Loos Company: Here's instructions: How*to*use*90*&*91*Tension*Gauges*|*Loos*&*Co.*-*Cableware*Division ), as well as a clevis pin going through the base of the spreader and the spreader base and on the outer side, securely tying it with seizing wire.

Because you've got a trailer boat, you may well have aluminum pipe for spreaders and that's ok. Thick-walled 1-1/4" aluminum is actually quite resistant to buckling.

Hope this helps!
- Jerr
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