Sunday, November 17, 2013

Going To See A Leopard - Day 3

I wake up and look out the window of our hotel room at the surf breaking on the shore. Does it actually look a little better or is it just wishful thinking. My wife opens the door and is happy to report that the winds do seem considerably lighter. Maybe, with any luck, we can get the rest of the survey (the haul out) and sea trial done before we hop on a plane back to Denver later today.

Pete (my broker) makes his way from St. Augustine back to Daytona and Jonathan (my surveyor) heads back up from Ft. Lauderdale. I remember when I was surprised that the survey and sea trial happened on the same I seem to be wishing we actually could get them done in the same day...funny how perspective changes.

We meet at the boat at 11am to move the boat to the boatyard for the haul out. Fortunately, the boatyard is very close, only a 5 or so minute trip. When we get there it looks just like the lift we couldn't fit in with the Leopard in Marathon. I have a quick flashback to that fiasco, but the selling agent confirms that the owner has used this lift on several occasions. We slowly work the boat into position and indeed it does fit...barely. We carefully move the boat into the lift's slip using ropes, poles, and a few fenders. Once again I pay to make a catamaran fly through the air. Unlike the bottoms of the other boats I've surveyed, this one was pretty clean so we forgo the pressure wash.  Jonathan gets out his trusty hammer and does the usual rapping on the hull, listening for the dull thud that indicates possible delamination or water intrusion. Other than one time he hit one of the few barnacles that took up residence on the hull, everything below the water line sounds good. That is welcome news.

We move on to the sea trial portion, which is done in the Ponce inlet since the waves were still in the 7 to 8 foot range just off the beach in the Atlantic...but I really didn't have time for a long sail anyway. Jonathan checks out the engines and finds that they were not producing the expected rpm and the transmission on one seemed to be slipping a bit when engaged. Ugh. There may be simple explanations for these issues...or expensive ones...clearly more investigation is required. We also found that the transmission cooler was leaking water into the bilge when underway...a fact that was confirmed when the very loud bilge alarm went off a few times during the trial (hey, at least the bilge alarm worked).

We quickly run up the sails to inspect them. The genoa looks fine, except the UV protection strip could use replacement. The main looks a bit strange to me as we raise it...seems a bit baggy like it isn't attached to the mast right. Jonathan and my broker both confirm that the sails cars (guides that attach to the front of the mainsail to the mast), specifically the ones at the batten locations, are missing. Really?!?!? The cars that are there are hanked on between the battens and this apparently isn't a typical configuration and may not be suitable for the mainsail.

There are issues with every propulsion option available to this boat...well, unless I get out on the transom and kick. Fortunately these are items that are not too serious and can be resolved...for a price.  The rest of the survey is uneventful.

Overall, the boat is in what I'm learning is just a little below average condition (or by the survey definition I'd call it "fair" condition).  There are a few more serious, safety related items but most are just the usual laundry list of issues found on used boats.  Being an ex charter, the boat is a little bit rougher than average on the cosmetic front but is mostly mechanically sound.  So, as we board the plane back to Denver we have some thinking and some research to do on repair costs while we await the official report from the surveyor. Not a lot of time though, the acceptance of vessel date fast approaches.


  1. Whew, that's a pretty good list already...even before the 'official' report. I wouldn't be too concerned with the mainsail issues. That's fairly easy [and relatively inexpensive] to correct. The engines and transmission are where my concerns lie. That sounds expensive [or time-consuming and expensive] depending on whether you hire a fixer or do it yourself.


    1. Replacing the sail cars with the correct ones could prove to be expensive depending on the maker of the track. The engine issue is likely over-propping...still trying to figure out how bad of a thing that is...there seem to be varying schools of thought there. The transmission could be a simple adjustment or more serious issue. The only real "known" problem is the leaking transmission cooler...which obviously needs to be replaced.