Monday, April 8, 2013

The survey

Since Mary was dead-set on spending her life savings on the very first boat she looked at, I wanted to make sure we had a thorough survey. She still hadn't convinced me that jumping aboard the O'day was the right thing to do.

Generally, surveys are expensive -- about $500 -- and you never know how skilled or thorough the surveyor will actually be. Since Ben and I purchased the Seahorse tied to a dock and sitting full of water for $1000, we obviously didn't bother getting a survey on that boat, so it was the first time I'd gone through the process.

Thankfully one of our friends who has forgotten more about boats than I ever hope to learn had started doing surveys last summer after returning from a year of cruising. With the promise of some rum he agreed to survey the O'day.

I followed him back and forth throughout the boat as he lifted hatches, flipped switches and checked hoses -- all the while jotting down notes.

Each time he pointed something out to me I'd cautiously ask, "Is that a deal breaker?"

"No, that's not a deal breaker," he'd reply.

Most of the conversation was between the men, which was so frustrating.  When I finally did get them to explain to me what they were talking about I still had no idea how serious the issues were.  Thank goodness me and Freddie are a team. 

We motored over to the Texas Shipyard and they hauled the boat.

The yard crew went to work pressure washing the hull while we analyzed the state of the bottom paint.

Once the spraying had stopped, our surveyor went to work pulling and shaking and checking the rudder and prop.

In the end, the survey report came out something like this:

  • Hoses permeated in head
  • Starboard forward lower shroud corroded in below deck connection
  • Shaft seal breather plugged and lying below water line
  • Galley sink drain has very long, scary looking through hull adapter
  • Rudder post bent at some point, not binding, seems ok
  • Main sail blown out
  • Prop loose -- corrected during haul out
  • Winches dry, need to be lubricated
  • Mast step showing corrosion
  • Mid hatch lens damaged
  • Manual bilge pump leaking at cuff
  • Port aft locker drain hose degarded beyond service
  • Needs bottom paint
One thing and one thing only in that report caused a massive drop in my enthusiasm -- "hoses permeated in head."  Now that the boat is really something I am personally invested in, I am excited to learn how to fix her one piece at a time, but toilet hoses were not where I wanted to start. Especially with someone with as weak a stomach as Fred.  I can't even count the times I've seen him almost throw up while working on the head in the other boat.  At least after spending three years working at a preschool my nose is a seasoned veteran to horrible smells.   

I had just finished changing all the hoses on the Seahorse, and I was soooo incredibly tired of working in poo water. However, when the access hatches were opened, there was no denying that the head stunk. In fact, Mary was in the cockpit and when the smell hit her up there she said, "Did you break something in there?!!!"

The smell is not super obvious if we keep the boat aired out, but after a week of sitting it's pretty bad. Also the smell arrives if you open any access hatch anywhere as the hoses seem to go all over the boat for some reason.

I sadly resolved myself to the reality that if Mary was going to invest in this boat, I needed to man-up and do one more round of head service, so that we finally had a boat that didn't smell. In the huge scheme of things, it was a small price to pay for a future on the water.

Just to be clear, I'm still not excited about it, I'm just resolved to it.

By the way, it's very cool to see a boat being lifted above you through the air.  It reminds you of the children's books where the ship sails off into the sky.  

We went over the survey results as the crane set Gimme Shelter back in the water, and Mary was all smiles since she knew she was getting a new boat.