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Old 09-30-2007, 05:58 PM   #1
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hello and help,

we have bought a lovely old ketch in Greece and been trying to get her ready to sail the indian ocean - we have come across a number of discrepencies from the survey report and then today I was shown dry rot.

Does anyone know what leg we have to stand on to really get angry with the surveyor. Are they bound by their reports...or is it still buyer beware.

We did condition the sale on the survey but it makes no difference as the survey missed - faulty wiring, sea cocks borken, engine needing a full over haul and now dry rot.

regards
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Old 09-30-2007, 11:43 PM   #2
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My understanding is that surveyors' reports provide a guide only, unless the surveyor is prepared to sign a caveat guaranteeing their report results. However, in Australia at least, Consumer Law would be on your side. Disclaimers are largely worthless if there is a reasonable expectation of an implicit result from a service provider.

For example, if you pay for a puncture to be repaired in your car tyre, and the tyre still loses air after the service, you have a legal right to claim. All service organisations in Oz are bound by the same law and can be prosecuted by the Government.

I would probably not opt for civil action in a Greek court, but I would seek advice from any government office which deals with consumer affairs. I would also look for the body which licenses and registers surveyors in Greece. They may well advocate on your behalf, especially if the surveyor is not licensed.

Practically however, you are most likely in little position to seek legal redress. While woodrot is easily treatable with products such as Everdure (International Paints), it generally, initially occurs near structural joins, such as the joint between deck and cabin. In such cases, replacement is the only option for a boat which is to sail offshore.

Faulty wiring is a general condition of second hand yachts and, it is wise to remove, inspect the bedding and replace or refit existing seacocks. And, the overhaul of the engine is going to be costly no matter what....and here again, it is necessary to carefully check the credentials of the mechanic who will perform this task.

There is nothing more dispiriting than to have your dreams postponed as a result of the failures of others. I wish you well and hope you get to sail your lovely old ketch sooner rather than later.

Best wishes.

David.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:06 AM   #3
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Hello Gails,

To give a reasonable answer to your question regarding the Survey and the Survey findings,

it would be helpful to know what type of survey was requested by yourselves and subsequently agreed to by the surveyor. Also need to know what was the age of the vessel, its construction material - where was the rot eventually discovered - was the survey conducted in the water or on the hard, did the surveyor have complete access to every part of the boat.

Generally speaking, surveyors will not conduct destructive or invasive examination of the hull or superstructure - eg drilling holes in the wood work.

Diesel Engine Inspection & Propulsion Solutions

As yacht surveyors (not technical engineers) visually inspect engines, gearboxes and generator installations during inspections, and by arrangement the engine is run up to access its general running characteristics, vibration levels, etc. No dismantling of the engine or associated equipment is carried out within the scope of a condition survey so no detailed comment upon the internal parts is possible.

Engine Trials: Upon buyer's instruction static or sea trials are conducted by arrangement where the engine's overall performance and operation can be assessed � the engine is run up to access its general operational characteristics, vibration levels, cooling water flow etc - this service is usually subject to a small additional � fe

To give you an idea of what the surveyor in the USA will do and report on, have a look at :-

http://www.sailboatsurveys.com/

Regards
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:21 PM   #4
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Thanks and we have already been advised that we didn't get a proper contract before starting - how ever there is an email trail where we asked for a person who could look at a 1974 wooden baot which has 6 ply of wood.

The spots he missed were under the sinks in the heads, under the water tanks etc. everywhere you would expect to find dry rot from water leaks - we know that now of course - hindsight being what it is.

His report was extremely general and he had it both on the hard and in the water over two days. It has been shown that some of his photos came off the for sale sight on the internet - they are months old.

he charged roughly 3000US for this as well

cheers
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gails View Post
Thanks and we have already been advised that we didn't get a proper contract before starting - how ever there is an email trail where we asked for a person who could look at a 1974 wooden baot which has 6 ply of wood.

The spots he missed were under the sinks in the heads, under the water tanks etc. everywhere you would expect to find dry rot from water leaks - we know that now of course - hindsight being what it is.

His report was extremely general and he had it both on the hard and in the water over two days. It has been shown that some of his photos came off the for sale sight on the internet - they are months old.

he charged roughly 3000US for this as well

cheers
Wow $3,000 US - that hurts !!

Hard to ascertain from your "we asked for a person who could look at a 1974 wooden baot which has 6 ply of wood." as to what this actually meant in terms of a "survey" - also, without an indication as to what the "person" agreed to do in looking at this 1974 wooden boat.

At some point, were your requirements fully understood and agreed to ? Thereby, forming basis of a contract - be it verbal or otherwise.

Of course the main thing necessary now, is to move forward. How can the rot be removed and replaced with good material ? What other items need repair or replacement ? How are you going to get the boat shipshape ?

All the very best wishes
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:16 AM   #6
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I agree the time to move forward is now. Dwelling on this unfortunate event will make no difference. However, I think most cruising sailors will agree that if you employ a surveyor to look at your boat over a two day period, both in and out of the water...and that you ask for a condition report and ask him to tell you what is wrong with the boat, that is exactly what you should receive.

It is up to the surveyor to tell you, before he undertakes the job, what he can't do; what guarantees he offers as to the value of his service, and if he fails he must then (as must all other professionals) provide compensation through professional insurance.

Any clown can see dry rot in obvious places.....surveyors should find it in the places in which ordinary people would not think to look. For $3000 I would expect an encyclopaedic report covering every single area of the boat so that no surprises remained.

If, after completing the survey, this bloke took a full day to prepare his report, he is still receiving $125 per hour....for that his work must be comprehensive, exact, skilled, analytical, finite and correct. Anything less would, in my book, brand him a fraud.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:47 AM   #7
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This is one poor situation to be in but there is one question, the answer to which may improve the situation. Was the boat bought privately or from a firm selling second hand craft or brokering used vessels? Also, what are the terns of the contract of purchase?

Used vessels are generally bought "as is, where is" with no real or implied guarantees but if you bought the boat from a dealer or broker without the "as is, where is" clause there may be some comeback in terms of European or Greek consumer protection legislation.

I am not a lawyer and certainly far from being a specialist in consumer protection legislation but it may be an avenue worth examining.

As for that shark of a bogus surveyor there is in my mind no doubt that you oaid for a service you did not get. I would go to the consumer ombudsman (I assume they have these in Greece) and lodge a formal complaint.

Hope you soon experience happier times with your ketch.
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