Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cape Cod
Thanked 106 Times in 103 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....
To the OP, I feel for you. The cost of boat maintenance and repair is something we don't like to think about as boat owners. For cruising sail boats, its not unusual to spend in operating cost (OPEX) the purchase price over again in a very few years...particularly if the boat is older. And boat costs are death by a million cuts. The hull, the keel, the rudder, the winches, the standing rigging, the running rigging, the sails, the galley stuff, the plumbing, the engine, the prop and running gear.....each of these costs money and its surprisingly evenly distributed. So a boat with good bones (hull, rig, rudder, keel) and a bad engine, bad wiring, bad electronics, can be as costly as a boat with bad bones (blisters, water intrusion into core, etc) to fix. It's hard as a new buyer to evaluate these costs or believe what they can be before you experience it.
So, yea, the "expensive" survey is worth it. One way to minimize this is find a friend that has owned a couple of boats and have them go with you on first looks. That might reduce the number of surveys you do. Someone here will point you at a book everyone reads on how to do your own survey, good to study this stuff too and do sort of a mini survey during first looks.
When I go out to look at a used boat, my first step is to look in the engine compartment and lift up a few floor boards. If I find a mess of old wires going no where, a grimy bilge, old plumbing going no where, etc. I walk away no matter how pretty everything looks. If things are neat and clean, no matter how old, I let myself get romanced by how the boat looks.
All in all $1K for a survey is a lot cheaper that $50K in surprises. Good luck, don't give up.