Thursday, July 28, 2011

Survey Day

Having made a formal offer on Elizabeth, the next step was to get her surveyed and take a real close look. I arranged for the survey to be done on 28 July by Lon Acheson. Again, I was especially concerned with moisture in the deck, the state of the keel bolts and the viability of the drive train.

Deterioration at forward end of the keel

Because the keel to hull joint was mostly covered with paint and filler I could not judge the state of the seal, nor guess if the keel bolts might have been affected. I was pleased when Lon expressed his opinion that the crack along the length of the joint probably came from the deterioration at the bow -- water was then forced from the bow down the joint. The seal beneath was probably intact, and thus the keel bolts unaffected. Good news -- major expense averted.

Soft spot between hatch and mast
The next big concern was the soft spot in the deck. Clearly there was delamination and probably rotten core beneath. As the soft area was about 2 feet square, this was no small thing. Lon ran his moisture meter all over the hull and found no moisture, nor evidence of blistering. The deck, on the other hand, did not fare so well. In addition to the known areas around the bent stanchion and forward of the mast, moisture readings were high along the side decks and outboard of the genoa sail tracks. A lot more moisture than I anticipated! Red flags were popping up everywhere. I asked Lon what his opinion was and he felt that the deck had years of life left in it. He had seen decks much worse and felt that it could reasonably be treated as an ongoing maintenance issue. First seal all the many ways that water can get into the core, then attempt to dry out the core. The possibility of extensive rot in the core was lessened by the relatively airtight and cold environment. That the boat hailed from Rhode island was to its benefit, as the colder weather would inhibit the growth of wood eating bacteria and fungi.

Was pleased to find new updated seacocks throughout
The last area of concern was the state of the drive train. I had arranged to launch the boat for a quick test on the engine and the owner arranged for the yard to commission her. The sea trial lasted about an hour whle we motored her out of Rock Creek to the Patapsco River and back. Lon ran a number of tests and was very pleased with what he found. There were absolutely no leaks anywhere and the engine ran like a top. At full RPM's the boat was moving a little more than 7 knots with the transom and exhaust submerged. Elizabeth was definitely not underpowered. At the helm for awhile I felt Elizabeth really wanted to move. She certainly had the most responsive helm I have ever felt -- like a car, turn the wheel the boat turned ... instantly! That will take some getting used to and probably suggests the need for an autopilot in the future.

So all told the survey and seatrial went well. All her systems were operational, and apart from the work on the keel and moisture in the deck appeared to be in good nick. I lowered my offer by a thousand dollars as I anticipated this was what I would have to pay to get the keel in shape, assuming I did the work myself. The owner agreed to pay half and we settled on a final price of 14K. Still nervous about the moisture in the deck I figured I could take that on as an ongoing maintenance issue considering how solid the rest of the boat was.

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