Well, the time is almost here for us to take the next big step.
We’ll go back to Virginia to meet with our broker and two surveyors we’ve hired to give the boat a thorough examination inside and out. We’ll start at 8:00 in the morning, and won’t finish up until late that evening.
Checking the inside of the boat is fairly straightforward, but to get a good look at the outside, the boat needs to come up onto dry land.
To accomplish this, the marina will use a machine like the one below to lift it out of the water and roll it to where we can all crawl under it and take a good look at all the normally-underwater bits and pieces.
This is a TravelLift, and yes, the only thing between the boat and the very hard ground are some nylon straps. Very large nylon straps, but it still is a little nerve wracking to see a boat suspended in mid-air over very unforgiving concrete.
One of the surveyors will spend several hours going over the engines and the generator to determine their condition. For the gear-heads out there, the main engines are Detroit Diesel 6-71’s and are turbocharged to create (hopefully) 485 horsepower each. The surveyor will take oil samples to be analyzed at a laboratory to see if there is any unusual bearing wear, and he’ll look at all of the sub-systems on the engines to make sure everything is in working order. Later in the day, he’ll be with us for the sea trial, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
While the “engine guy” is in the engine room, the other surveyor will be looking into all the nooks and crannys of the boat to check for signs of structural problems in the hull or the deck, and he’ll check the outer surface of the hull, the part normally underwater, to make sure that it isn’t waterlogged (yes, fiberglas hulls can get waterlogged), and he’ll also check the propellors, prop shafts, bearings, rudders and stabilizer fins for any damage or misalignment.
After everything has been done that requires the boat to be “on the hard”, the TravelLift will roll back over the water and lower the boat back down until the straps can be removed and it’s floating freely.
Now comes the sea trial. With the seller’s broker operating the boat, we’ll start out slowly and run at increasingly faster speeds while the surveyors check the engines and instruments to make sure everything operates the way it should and that the engines reach their full rated speed. They’ll be looking for excessive smoking from the exhaust (bad), overheating (worse) or other unusual things like, oh I don’t know, fire, flooding…things that might make us change our mind.
The sea trial will take at least an hour, and maybe two, depending on how she runs. At the end, we’ll return to the marina and spend some time going over more parts of the boat to see if anything shifted or fell off while we were running.
Assuming everything goes well, the surveyors will drive off into the sunset to write their reports, and we will go back to the hotel to try to catch some sleep (doubt it). At least we’ll have something to talk about during the flight back to Orlando the next day.
In three to five days, we’ll get the written reports which will describe all that was done, and will list any deficiencies that were found. The reports will give us an estimate of the cost to fix those deficiencies, and that’s where we reach our go / no-go point.
If there are substantial costs involved, we’ll need to negotiate a price adjustment with the seller. If we reach agreement, it’s a go. If they dig in their heels and don’t want to budge on the price, we may decide it’s time to walk away and start looking all over again. Hope that doesn’t happen, but there may be a point where it has to.
I’ll post again after the survey. Wish us luck…