First impressions outside
First impressions inside.
Don’t buy her just yet.
Make a Second Date
How much work needs to be done?
Will it be within your capabilities?
Can you devote enough time to what needs doing?
Will it be affordable?
And will she be worth taking on?
You’ll get lots of advice but will probably ignore most of it in the heat of passion.
And yea, I must admit that I’m as much a sucker for a graceful sheer-line and neat turn of the bilge as anyone (boats as well as women).
But for what it’s worth here is my advice on that fateful first meeting.
Now first impressions, despite what ‘they’ say are important.
Stand back take a good long look at her from all angles and consider her potential.
Can you see yourself loving, honoring, and cherishing her?
Then forget it.
If you are going to spend time effort and cash renovating a boat you are going to need passion and love.
However, she will also need to fit your imagined needs, what ever they are.
And do try please to be realistic.
There are preservation societies which will rebuild a boat from a few blackened timbers dug out of a bog. But they will probably have hundreds of volunteer helpers, government grants and unlimited time.
So, you’ve met a pretty boat will she be worth marrying/buying?
It is time for a reality check, time to do some poking around.
A camera, so that you can take home actual images to reflect on.
A torch, so you can inspect those dark corners where all sorts of nasty stuff can hide.
A Large Screwdriver, preferably one with a wooden
This can be used to tap for unsound wood as well as to poke for soft areas and even unscrew panels.
A Rechargeable Screwdriver will make the unscrewing of any panels quick and easy.
A notebook and pen or pencil to record any impressions.
What doe she smell like inside? Damp and mildewed?
Um, that means damp and probably plenty of rotten wood as well.
Now remember that you are here to assess the amount of work that needs doing to make this a safe and sound boat, one that floats, how she is laid out isn't your main concern at this stage.
Have a look under the cabin sole, that’s why you’ve brought your torch. Is there water lying in the bilges? Is it salt water or rain water?
Now use that torch to peer into as many nooks and crannies as you can.
It is these out of the way places which, because they are difficult to get at, may not have been maintained as well as they should.
Open the lockers and drawers try to see what’s behind.
However, be warned you probably won’t be able to see everything.
Go home with your notes, impressions and those photos.
Try to make a realistic estimate of
How much work will be needed to put her right.
How long it will take you.
How much it will cost.
How much you are willing to pay for her.
If you want a second opinion take a pal with you.
If you are about to spend mega bucks on her you might just want a professional survey.
Bear in mind that professional surveys are expensive and the surveyor will want paying whether or not you buy the boat.
If you do think that this is the way to go, make sure that the surveyor understands wooden boats and why you are intending to buy her.
Most surveyors these days spend all their time looking at plastic boats for buyers who want one that is ready to sail away in.
Assuming that you are going to
do the surveying yourself,
get as much information as you can.
Hopefully, by checking through the for sale ads you will have developed a feel for values.
If the boat is a recognised design then check boating magazines for buying tips. Many of them have buyer’s reports for specific boats which highlight things to watch for.
Learn as much as you can about the problems associated with wooden boats.
And plan to speyournd all the time you need checking her, all day if necessary. And preferably without the owner breathing down your neck.