Tuesday, 16 February 2010

How not to inspect a sailboat

As you have probably figured out, I had not viewed the boat at the time I bought it. I just relied on the seller's word. If what I saw did not match what he told me over the phone, I had the right to refuse to honour my part of the deal. Plus I thought it was a bargain at that price so didn't want anyone else to bid for it.

The seller of Ting-a-ling could not make it the first weekend which was quite disappointing as I was dying with anticipation to meet my new "object of desire". (perhaps object of desire is an exaggeration).

We arranged to meet the following weekend, 10 days after I had bought her on ebay. It was mid December 2009 and all of you that were in the UK at the time may remember the record-breaking snowfall around that time. The view from the train window was wonderful as Essex was covered in snow and the river Crouch curved a silver line through the white fields. But enough with the poetry.

I had previously gathered information about what to look out for when buying a boat. My ex-boss, a keen sailor insisted on three things: keel, sails, engine. Considering she was on the water a full inspection would be impossible.. To cut a long story short, the only thing I got to see was the engine...

The deck was covered in snow and there was no way I could inspect it. It was too cold to even think about unfolding the sails. The keel bolts were not accessible as the seller had made a new cabin floor which we could not lift as it was quite snug.. Suspicion mounted.. The starboard side of the main bulkhead was quite rotted and the starboard lower shroud chainplate knee had fully rotted away. Plus, there was quite a bit of water in the bilge. I had serious doubts that this boat was a real bargain. Emma loved it. In the end, I thought, what the hell, it may need some work but it's definitely got potential. And if I didn't buy her, who knows how long it would take me to buy another boat. So I just paid the money and bought her. There was quite a bit of documentation going back to the original registration in 1969..

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