The survey was supposed to start at 11:00 a.m., but the surveyor
couldn't make it until noon. I hired George Jarvey of Christian Brothers,
the same guy who surveyed Mandala for me.
We spent the best part of four hours opening every compartment,
tracing hoses and wires, examining thru-hulls and valves, and in general,
evaluating the internal systems.
Steve, our agent from
joined us for the Survey,
and so everyone was looking hard at everything. George will provide me with a
complete written report about the survey, but he was able to impart the most
important items to me verbally in person.
However, as complex as all that sounds, it might not cost gobs of money if
done correctly, in a single haulout at the same time as one had, for instance,
the bottom painted. Having all of the new thru-hulls, water chest, and
valves on hand, so that they can all be replaced at once, means that it's really
only single days work in the yard. Then I could replace the hoses myself,
once the boat was back in the water (and the valves were closed).
Likewise, the electrical system is very complex and will need some figuring out.
We tested the inverter and generator and one of the air conditioners.
The inverter is not fused and should be.
One of the air conditioners is not hooked up and should be.
The solar panel seems to work.
There is an extra 220V invertor (for European Current) that is of questionable
connection and usability. Most of the wiring was ok.
The instruments and stereo work. We did not try the TVs.
The batteries will probably need to be replaced before commencing a long journey.
They're already 4 years old and not well taken care of (surprise).
There are THIRTEEN of them. Ten 6V golf cart batteries making the house bank,
two engine starting batteries, and one genset battery.
(Figure $1500 for batteries at some point).
We couldn't get some of the overhead lights to work, either burnt bulbs
or we didnt hit the right switches.
It took me several days to diagram Mandala's electrical circut.
I would expect it to take me two weeks just to diagram the plumbing and
electrical systems on Rhapsody, before deciding what, of many possible
improvements to make. And although I had hoped to spend my money on
more obvious improvements (which we'll still need, like a "full enclosure",
dinghy, etc), these core systems should be in top notch order if you are
seriously going to sail a boat. So they shall be.
Then, finally, at about 4:00 pm we hauled the boat out of the water.
It's a big boat. Factory Specs say 32,000 lbs. The Travellift said 40,000 lbs!
Must be all those batteries and full tanks of water.
And yes, she has a 6' draft. Not 7'8", but a nice shallow 6' which should
get us into some of the better spots (Mandala drew 6'6" by comparison).
Not much noticable blistering. A few places should be sanded to primer,
filled and repainted, but she's got a sound hull throughout with no
delamination (George taps on it all over with a small hammer to check it).
Rudder and bearing are in good shape. The self-feathering propeller is
in good shape. However, the propeller shaft is pitted and needs to be replaced.
The 1.5" shaft (about 6 feet long) and the cutlass bearing should be about $1500,
installed at the haulout.
After that, as the sun was setting, Steve and I left George to
finish up the general survey. He actually worked on it again the following
morning, doing the deck and crew cabin portions of the survey while Steve
and I rounded up Rigging and Engine Surveyors.
Feb 28, 2007, 9:00 a.m.
We were provided with receipts showing that the previous owner
had installed a complete remanufactured Perkins Longblock in 2002,
and the engine looked great, but we wanted a qualified mechanic
to have a look at it and tell us what he thought.
The seller told us there were about 200 hours on the rebuild, but
I estimate more like 600 hours based on what I know of his usage pattern.
So Steve called Phil Jones, who is supposed to be San Diego's foremost
Perkins Diesel Mechanic, to do a survey of the Engine.
He went thru the expected steps of starting the motor up,
checking the transmission in forward and reverse, and then
examining the engine in some detail while listening to it
for sounds that might indicate problems. He also checked
the fuel, fuel filters, and cooling systems. He
ran the motor up to max RPMs and listened to it. He shut
it down, and started it two or three times.
His overall opinion was that the engine was just as it looked,
a very recent factory rebuild, and that it was in very good
shape and there was no reason to do more sophisticated
tests (like compression tests, etc).
He did point out that there had been a small leak from
the water pump and recommended that we have the water pump
re-sealed and/or rebuilt while at it, and that there was a
very small leak around the transmission seal, but otherwise,
the motor was in nearly show-room shape.
He said that he rarely sees motors this nice since
they never have problems, and that by and large we could expect
years of trouble free service from it, and that it should
take us anywhere we want to go.
So, it's nearly a brand new motor, and
with only a small portion of it's expected 5000-10000 hour
lifetime used up, it looks like it's good to go!
Feb 28, 2007, 1:00 p.m.
The final picture in the puzzle before signing off on the boat
was to have Kasey Campbell, from Performance Rigging here
in San Diego, come by and do a rigging survey.
He first inspected all of the standing rigging (the mast and
the steel wires holding it up) using a wire
brush to clean off all of the stainless steel connectors
and the examine them minutely for cracks, corrosion, etc.
He took his bosuns chair up to the very top of the mast and
inspected everything up there, including the
wiring for the lights and radar, as well.
At the time of the inspection, the biggest concern we had
was that the mainsail was stuck inside the mast furler and
we could not get it out. He said that the sails were old
and that when they get old they get "puffy" and tend to "wrap"
incorrectly, and that the mainsail was probably just wrapped
wrong and can most likely be coaxed out of the mast by pulling
on it and working it out. He said that the furler itself was
ok, and not likely to be damaged, but that a new mainsail (or
resewing the current sail to take out some of the puffiness)
would go a long way to preventing the wrap from happening again.
The sails need some minor repairs in addition (some fraying hems,
etc), but overall he didn't seem very concerned about the sails
as a problem tho, more of a regular maintenance issue.
So we moved on.
Kasey only found one or two things that might require attention.
He was most concerned with some hairline cracks in the port
main shroud connector, that he described as "barely visible stress
lines, not even really cracks yet", and suggested that we replace
the connector and shroud at some point.
He also pointed out some mast wiring that could cleaned up, and
suggested that the easiest thing to do, overall, would be
to have the mast stepped (taken off) and the rigging done
when we have the boat hauled out for the bottom paint.
He also said we should add an 8" spacer to the top of the
headstay to prevent the jib from getting a "halyard wrap". This
is something that I can add myself, so it's not a big deal.
Finally, he said that he wasn't thrilled
with the kind of backstay insulator that was used for the SSB,
but that was more a matter of personal preference than
a real issue. The one that is there will work fine for our
trip, but is not the best brand made.
Otherwise, apart from needing regular maintenance
and lubrication, he felt that the running rigging (the ropes)
was in good enough shape (with minor exceptions), and that the
standing rigging could be easily brought up to off-shore
So at this point I was satisfied that I understood the rigging
issues, even if it wasn't all perfect, and so I felt like
Rhapsody had "passed" the inspection to my satisfaction
Later that day, I signed off on the surveys and became committed to
purchasing Rhapsody. When all is said and done, it may sound to the reader
like I'm buying a bunch of problems. In reality, I feel that this is
a really nice boat that has just not had the kind of care it should have,
and that once I'm done with the myriad of projects, it will be transformed
into one of the nicest yachts around, with lots of room to grow into,
with the fullest array of reliable systems providing the most luxurious
comfort all the while, and that she will sail as safely and nicely
as one would expect from a flagship French yacht.
It is clear that this boat was not loved, but used rather
hard. Yet she appears to be very well founded (the engine was recently
rebuilt and looks clean) and full of top-quality features. With love
and care (hard work and some bucks) I think this boat can become my
"dream yacht" and take me anywhere we want to go, including places I
havent even imagined yet! And it is truly large enough for
friends and family to join up in complete comfort anywhere along the way.
After all, I already know that she has been sailed from France starting in 93',
likely thru the Caribbean, to San Diego, where she then cruised the Mexican
coast several seasons (she was on the ba-ha-ha roster in both 97 and 98,
and went at least as far south as Ixtapa on one of these trips) with her
second owner. The current seller Mark, the third owner, has apparently only
used her for a few weeks a year making a specific trip about 300 miles south
(600 mile round trip) and doing the least amount of maintenance possible while
installing the most expensive equipment he could find. Strange but true.