When you buy a boat, you do your due diligence and use a surveyor. When we bought our Taswell 43 back in 2015, we had hoped the surveyor we hired would have found and revealed all the boat’s system issues, especially those items which are most costly. Not so.
This is a recurring theme in almost every cruising story you read. No matter if you are a billionaire buying a used megayacht worth millions- or a retired couple buying a 43 foot used sailboat. The boat owners who do not talk about this are either not being honest-and/or don’t want to admit they had been taken, or they have John Kretschmer– like knowledge, or they are incredibly lucky.
Everyone I run into, has their own survey-missed horror stories. Today, I ran into a professional captain in Ft. Lauderdale, who shared that his boss’s $2 million + yacht needed lots of pricey work completed that was missed on the survey. Yesterday, a fellow sailboat owner told me about all the items missed on their survey- which was very devastating to them emotionally and financially. In other words, incomplete surveys happen, which in turn costs the new owners a ton of money in un-expected repairs and negatively impact their boat ownership harmony.
So, what am I leading up to? An honest confession that our surveyor let us down. He missed some really expensive items, which we had to spend some big bucks to replace or repair. Luckily, we planned financially for things breaking, because the salt water environment is so harsh to boating equipment.
But still, it is disappointing to discover all the items the survey missed.So far, one of the larger items missed is the complete sail inventory. I purposely questioned our surveyor about his professional opinion on the sails condition on our cutter rigged sailboat. He said the main sail and genoa were in “good shape.” He did say that the staysail was at the end of its useful life. I asked him if he was sure since the sails appeared original to the age of the boat. He said absolutely, they only needed new UV covers, and then wrote this into the survey.
Should have listened to my gut instinct. Turns out that all 3 sails need replacing. In fact, the staysail was in better condition than the genoa and main sail, the opposite from the survey findings. On the delivery trip, the jib tore to shreds along the leech, and arrived with pieces hanging off. The main was not made for furling in-mast systems, and was also stretched out and difficult to use. The cost to replace all 3 sails is substantial.
Our surveyor also missed other items, including heads and hoses, chainplates, SSB, Electrical system, and many other issues. The point of this blog post is to say that bad surveys can happen to good people, even those who take the time to educate themselves about sailboats and have a surveyor come highly recommended. It happens to many buyers, no matter the size and price of the yacht or vessel.
Did you have a similar experience? Would love to hear from others who also had a survey that failed to reveal costly items and equipment failures.