Survey day

Posted in: Buying, Featured on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Survey day was here and the weeks of lovely spring weather had deserted us.  Clouds, a chill breeze and he threat of rain greeted us as we woke Saturday morning.  Not that the weatherWet and rainy day mattered once we saw Tygress bobbing in her slip at the marina workyard waiting for us.

Our surveyor had gotten an early start (which thankfully we didn’t have to be there for, 9am is a much more appealing time than 8am for night owl like me) and was busy giving Tygress a thorough internal inspection.  Paul, the vendor’s representative, who incidentaly is a qualified marine surveyor himself,  was on hand to help out and answer any questions.  He proved valuable throughout the day, spending time scraping barnacles from the hull and propeller and helping to sail her during the sea trial.

Detlef, our broker, introduced everyone and then left us to continue on without him.  I was grateful to have Ben to rely upon because I felt supremely out of my depth having to talk with bona-fide boating people.  But my worries were unfounded, both Peter and Paul were very friendly and patiently answered any questions we had.  It was important to us that we could ask questions freely because as first time boat purchasers we had many.  Peter was very up front with us and was frank about what he saw and thought about Tygress.  Nothing was sugar coated or glossed over.   It was a sobering but not off-putting experience.

Once Peter was finished inspecting the interior it was time for Tygress to be lifted out of the water so that her hull and keel could be inspected.  Tygress was ‘poled’ into position, two yard hands used long poles to gently manoeuvre her into the slipping berth, where two large straps would be slung underneath her hull and the travel lift would begin the slow process of raising her out of the water.   A slow and fascinating process.  At first it seemed like nothing was happening, but over a few minutes it was apparent that she was being inched up, revealing her dark underside which given her recent hull repaint and anti-foul, was in good condition.

After she was hoisted to full height, the lift began to roll back over the concrete of the work-yard so that the hull could be water blasted clean.  There were 4 other vessels up on hardstands, including ‘Phoenix Star’, the boat we inspected before Tygress (had we had the money we would’ve bought her, but at $70k she was out of our price range)

I had expected large patches of barnacles but there was only minor patch on the starboard side.  These are easily scraped off and Paul happily obliged.

It was surreal to be walking around underneath her, and at first I didn’t trust the straps to hold her up, but I soon relaxed and was fascinated by the matt black, submarine-like finish of her hull.  Peter tapped with the back end of a screwdriver along the underside, listening for faults in her metallic echo’s.  He then did the same for the keel and rudder.  We were watching him intently for any sign of unhappiness or possible problems.  But all proceeded well and when Peter was finished she was rolled back to the dock and lowered down into the water.  The yard hands then poled her back to her slip and we all boarded for the sea trial.

As Murphy’s Law dictates, this is when it started to rain and the wet weather gear was put on.  We um’d and ah’d about whether or not to take her out in those conditions, but we didn’t want to let the weather put us off so out we went.  It’d be naive of us to think we’d only ever sail in fine conditions so we thought we’d best go see what the flip side was like.  It was a wet, uncomfortable, bumpy and incredibly fun ride.  The head sail wasn’t in the best condition to start with (part of the reason for her lowered price) and the wind was gusty enough to rip it shortly after we headed out.  A fortunate turn of events as the vendor then had to replace it at their cost instead of ours as part of the conditions of sale.  Now we just need to replace the main sail.

Ben took the helm for a while Peter and Paul kept her on course, and he handled it superbly, grinning from ear and getting soaked all the while (our Twitter picture is of Ben at the helm on survey day).  I spent my time down below seeing how well she rode out the waves, it was the most fun i’ve had in a while which I took as a good sign.  Our first sailing lesson had been in crystal clear conditions, and our sea trial in quite the opposite.  We’ve seen both sides of what sailing can be, some of it’s better sides, and some of it’s worst, and we’re still keen.

We made it back to the harbour fine, if not a little wet and tired, disembarked, shook hands all round and then went home and waited eagerly for the completed survey report.  Our bond with Tygress seems even firmer, we know her faults, we know her strengths.  We feel can make a much more honest appraisal of her now.





  1. A clean bottom | Blue Water Dreaming says:

    […] being poled into the lift cradle.  This is the second time we’ve watched Tygress come out, the first time back in 2011 when she was undergoing her prepurchase survey. I was quite relaxed about it then, after all, she […]

  2. Different Survey, different Day | Blue Water Dreaming says:

    […] It gave us time to think on the differences this survey day compared with our survey day for Tygress. […]

Leave Your Comment

* Required fields

CommentLuv badge