PURCHASE SURVEY: Everything Right Is Wrong Again

Hauled out

I have not mentioned this, as I didn’t want to jinx anything, but Lunacy has been under contract to be sold for some time now. The putative buyers, Nico and Amy, mentioned earlier, enjoyed two test-sails back in August before making an offer and this past week arranged to have the boat surveyed. First a short sea trial so Surveyor One, Gene Barnes, could scope out the engine, then a haul-out at Maine Yacht Center (see image up top) so Surveyor Two, Mike Whitten, could probe the hull with an audio gauge while Gene poked around some more.

My anti-jinx precautions, alas, had little effect, and the sea trial proved embarrassing. First the primary autopilot (the old Autohelm 2000 tillerpilot, which drives the head of the Aries windvane) failed to work properly. Then the PSS shaft-seal (which was replaced just last year) decided to stop sealing and spontaneously filled the bilge with seawater. Fortunately, these problems are resolvable.

The third thing that went wrong was that Mike, the audio-gauge guy, simply forgot to show up. So we had to schedule a Survey Day Two, which made this the longest survey I have ever attended.

Gene's back

Gene examines the engine in its lair. He’s very good at what he does and has been doing it for some time. He surveyed my old yawl Crazy Horse for me before I bought her back in 1994

Sail cover

Gene takes a peek under the sail cover

Nico and Gene

Gene (left) confers with Nico in the middle of Survey Day One. Note the small manual piston pump dangling from the sink, which I used to clear the bilge after the shaft-seal failed

Nico and John

Also in attendance on Day One was yacht broker John Procter (left), seen here also conferring with Nico. I’ve worked with John a few different times since he helped me find Crazy Horse way back when. He managed to put this deal together via a series of unlikely coincidences. A step-cousin of mine who lives in Portland had asked me to recommend a broker for listing his Sea Sprite 34 (a fine boat, which is for sale and can be inspected here), and I suggested John. John trundled up to Portland to inspect the Sea Sprite, and my step-cousin happened to mention that he believed I was trying to sell Lunacy, which I was, though she had not yet been listed anywhere other than here on WaveTrain. John, it turned out, happened to have a pair of young clients (Nico and Amy) who were seriously hunting for an aluminum boat to replace their Cal 35 (also a fine boat, which is also for sale, and can be inspected here). So my step-cousin took John on a float-by past Lunacy as she lay on her mooring in Portland Harbor. John in turn tipped off Nico and Amy and sent them in my direction


Lunacy waiting to get hauled

Pressure wash

Pressure gonna wash on you. The bottom was remarkably clean this year


Lunacy’s actual weight. Her design weight is weight is 21,000 pounds, but to the travelift it feels more like 26 (12 on the rear sling; 14 on the front)

I was very curious to see how the audio gauging would go. During my purchase survey 10 years ago, I was told there was too much paint on Lunacy’s bottom for it to be gauged accurately, and I basically had to take it on faith that her hull was sound. Her bilges and interior structure were so clean and corrosion-free this seemed like a very good bet, but still I never really knew for sure.

Subsequently I paid mucho dinero to have the many layers of old paint sponge-blasted off the boat and since then have kept the old girl on a thin diet of ablative paint. So now she presented a perfectly clean canvas. Mike Whitten, who seems very good at his job, fortunately uncovered nothing unseemly as he wandered about the hull with his stethoscope, which did not surprise me, but still I was relieved to hear it.

Audio gauge

Mike doing his thing on Survey Day Two

Audio reading

When I bought Lunacy I was told her scantlings were 5mm below the waterline and 4mm above. This proved accurate, as you can see here in this below-the-line reading, but Mike did find there were two plates in the middle of the boat directly opposite each other, one on each side, that were slightly and uniformly thinner by about .25mm. Either the builder did this for a specific reason (can’t imagine what exactly) or had been sold some slightly undersized plate and decided to make use of it anyway

Audio map

Mike and the map he drew

Now we’re just waiting for the written reports and the final verdict. Prospects look good, but I’m still not taking anything for granted.

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