Hanse 445 Survey Europe

Hanse 445 Marine Surveyor Europe

A Hanse 445 survey in Torrevieja by Guy Nicholls, Marine Surveyor Spain & Europe.

The Hanse range have increased production significantly since the turn of the century, with the brand being very popular both in the UK and in the Mediterranean. Like other production builders, Hanse have worked hard to reduce cost during the build, however have also done a good job in keeping the quality up and this becomes apparent when a surveyor is testing for structural defects during a survey. Often the range use a Coremat type bulking material within the hull laminate, reverting to the more commonly used end grain balsa core for the deck and superstructure.

Windy Khamsin 34, Lymington

Windy Marine Surveyor Lymington

A Windy Khamsin 34 Survey at Berthon, Lymington. I’ve surveyed numerous vessels in the Windy range, these high quality Norwegian high speed sports boats are very well constructed using the latest materials and with a PVC foam core to the hull and superstructure.

Berthon brokerage, where this vessel was located, are the main UK agents for Windy Boats, and usually have a good selection of these vessels for sale.

Oyster 72 Survey Lymington

Marine Surveyor Lymington

An Oyster 72 Survey by Guy Nicholls Marine Surveyor Lymington for Solent Marine Surveys. I’ve done several Oysters over the last few months, they generally have a fairly similar pattern of equipment layout and design, tankage, generator, hydraulic arrangements and so forth. This one was built at Landamores, the range can vary in where the vessels are fitted out, several being completed at Southampton Yacht Services at Saxon Wharf. Weaknesses can include corrosion to the mast and fittings, hatches and machinery in the bilges, and on some models the GRP work can require careful inspection.

Sunseeker Portofino 47 Survey

Sunseeker Marine Surveyor Poole

Sunseeker Portofino 47 Survey by Guy Nicholls, Marine Surveyor Poole for Solent Marine Surveys. This Sunseeker was equipped with twin Volvo Penta D9 diesels, giving around 31 knots boat speed at 2300rpm during the sea trial which was conducted before the hoist for the full pre-purchase survey. I worked in parallel with Golden Arrow Marine who where able to access the engine history and run full diagnostics which on modern engines such as these requires a marine engineer to facilitate.

Hallberg Rassy 40 Survey Hamble

Hallberg Rassy Marine Survey

A Hallberg Rassy 40 marine survey by Guy Nicholls, Marine Surveyor Hamble for Solent Marine Surveys. The Hallberg Rassy range are of cored FRP (GRP) construction which helps insulate the hull and deck from Swedish temperatures! The cored construction also allows lighter construction that would have been the case with single skin or monolithic construction, while in this case, the PVC foam core cannot absorb moisture as can happen when end grain balsa is used for the core material.

Beneteau Oceanis Lymington

Beneteau Marine Surveyor Lymington

A Beneteau Oceanis 31 Marine Survey in Lymington Yacht Haven by qualified Marine Surveyor and GRP specialist Guy Nicholls, AMRINA.

This Beneteau Oceanis was in great order thanks to a diligent owner with careful use. One interesting point on this model was the navigations lights, which at the time of purchase were and optional extra! This one having a tri-colour and steaming light, but no lower navigation lights, therefore unable to comply with international COLREGS when motoring at night!

Hanse 385 Port Solent

A Hanse 385 survey by Marine Surveyor Guy Nicholls at Port Solent. Solent Marine Surveys regularly cover the areas of Lymington to Chichester, with surveys further afield including Europe, having recently surveyed in Holland, Spain, Greece, France.

The Hanse range like many modern cruisers are built on a production line basis, often using a tray matrix or grid to stiffen the hull and connect the keel and chainplate loadings. Like many modern yachts, the Hanse range use modern resins making osmosis and moisture related defects a thing of the past. Areas however that are often found in this type of production yacht include moisture within the end grain balsa cored deck, and bulkhead attachment issues. This particular example however was free of any significant defects.

Oyster 72 at Berthon, Lymington

Oyster 72 Marine Survey at Berthon, Lymington

An Oyster 72 in the hoist (she only just fitted between the bottom of the keel on the ground and the boom under the hoist beam!) at Berthon Shipyard, Lymington for a marine survey by Guy Nicholls, Solent Marine Surveys.

This 4 year old Oyster 72 was given a full sea trial then a full condition survey at Lymington, the exact scope of the survey for a vessel like this can vary depending on the requirements of the purchaser – in this case a fairly standard pre-purchase survey was chosen, with a full day allowed for the comprehensive sea trial.

A blue water cruising yacht of this size often has multiple systems in addition to the structure of the vessel to inspect, from generators and air conditioning to freezers, water makers, underwater lighting and no less than 55 through hull fittings on this model.

I have surveyed several Oysters recently, ranging from a Holman and Pye Oyster 37, an Oyster Heritage, and the more racy Lightwave 395 all below 40′, through to an Oyster 62 and this Oyster 72, both at Berthon in Lymington. With the exception of the Lightwave, all are constructed from a monolithic hull type (meaning a solid skin, not a cored construction) and are fitted out to the highest standards of joinery internally.

Delta Marine 38m, Palma

Delta Marine 38m Superyacht, Palma

A Delta Marine 38m (126′) Motor Yacht – an Exploration type Superyacht at the STP Shipyard in Palma.

This stunning displacement type superyacht, professionally skippered by an Englishman and 6 crew including two chefs, was ashore at the STP Shipyard in Palma and the skipper required a hull survey. Guy Nicholls of Solent Marine Surveys – a GRP specialist was booked to attend and conduct the work.

This vessel is equipped with long range fuel tanks, allowing her to travel the Atlantic Ocean under her own steam – as she has done several times, including a passage for a  refit at her original builders in Seattle, USA. Her large bulbous bow, capable of having 22 tonnes of water pumped inside for trimming purposes, is laminated from conventional glass and polyester resin, of up to 75mm thick scantlings.

Her stunning interior has always evaded the photographers, none that I know of are published online, although several shots of her externally both ashore and afloat can be found . She is based in Palma, Majorca, where the majority of her permanent crew reside when she is not in commission.

Bavaria 38 Ocean, Deacons

Bavaria 38 Ocean Survey, Deacons Hamble River

A Bavaria Ocean 38, surveyed at Deacons Boatyard for Whyboats on the River Hamble by Guy Nicholls, Solent Marine Surveys Ltd.

The Bavaria range has risen dramatically in profile since the turn of the Millennium, the German based business tooling up a highly efficient production line to rival that of Beneteau, Jeanneau and other established names of mass produced vessels. Bavaria generally use a single skin GRP construction below the waterline, transitioning to a cored (sandwich) construction using a pvc type core for above the waterline in the topsides and the deck superstructure.

The Ocean range is a centre cockpit derivative, with increased specification including far more joinery inside than the aft cockpit variants, giving a very cosy feel internally with the benefit of a large owner cabin aft with full headroom.

Princess 56 in Hamble

Princess 56 Marine Survey in Hamble

A Princess 56 designed by Bernard Olesinski and built by Marine Projects in Hamble.

These favourites, together with the Princess 45’s and others are all time classics with a phenomenal reputation for sea kindliness and handling. Very well built and might possibly outlast several more modern rivals, this fine craft is powered by 610 bhp of  twin Volvo Penta TAMD-122P-B diesels.

The new owner was indeed upgrading from a Princess 45, which demonstrates the brand loyalty that these marques instil into their owners. A quick spruce up of carpets and curtains, a few safety items to update, an engines service and she was ready to go again – a fine testament to a 19 year old vessel.

Beneteau Oceanis 323, Lymington

Beneteau Oceanis 323 Marine Survey

A Beneteau Oceanis 323 ashore for a marine survey by Guy Nicholls, Solent Marine Surveys at Lymington Yacht Haven, Lymington.

The Beneteau Oceanis 323 is one of Beneteau’s best –  a great pocket cruiser built in hundreds and used by private and charter companies alike for good value, good accommodation, practical cruisers. I own a similar Oceanis, which pre-dates this particular model, the Oceanis 311, so I am very familiar with both the build and the systems.

As with most modern Beneteau yachts, internally the company has used an extensive tray matrix, sometimes referred to as a grid, to tie in keel and rigging loads. This grid is epoxy bonded to the hull at build stage, and forms a vital part of the yacht’s structure and rigidity. It is essential that this tray matrix remains well bonded and careful inspection is needed to ensure that the structure remains as built, any cracking or moisture within the grid must be carefully assessed by a surveyor.

S&S Classic, a Nautor Swan 44

S&S Classic - Nautor Swan 44 Marine Survey

This beautiful Sparkman and Stephens (S&S) Classic from 1974, a Nautor Swan 44 was surveyed in Hamble by Guy Nicholls, Qualified Marine Surveyor.

This Nautor Swan had been cruised and then raced across the Atlantic to the Caribbean by her previous owner and completed successfully in several key regattas, including the RORC Caribbean 600 race. The previous owner, updating to a Swan 48, had recommended Solent Marine Surveys for the survey to her new buyer, having already surveyed the Nautor Swan 48 for him.

This classic yacht will no doubt turn many heads after her minor refit in Hamble by Yachting Sports Ltd, before she heads down to Sardinia for some family cruising there as well as some racing.

The Nautor Swan range are fantastic vessels to survey, with a single skin (also known as monolithic) hull and good access to most structural areas, the Marine Surveyor can inspect all the key structural areas. The high quality of build and the materials used rarely result in major structural defects on these types.

Windy 35 Khamsin, Lymington

Windy 35 Khamsin Survey, Berthon

A Windy 35 Khamsin Marine Survey and sea trial at Berthon Brokerage in Lymington. These Norwegian built top quality sports cruisers are a pleasure for a marine surveyor, with beautifully finished workmanship of the highest standards both inside and out.

I have never found a serious structural defect on one of these vessels, this is a significant statement given the fairly high speed of these craft, powered by twin Volvo Penta D4 diesels. Some might hold the Sunseeker marque in this class of vessel in the highest regard, my experience of these craft suggests the Windy range is at the very least equal, and in my opinion, the superior of the two.

A deep v hull gives impeccable handling and manners, giving very precise control at high speed.

Dufour 375 Marine Survey

Dufour 375 Marine Survey Port Solent, Portsmouth

Dufour 375 Marine Survey at Port Solent. These Dufour built yachts are well finished and sail well, with good accommodation.

Dufour are generally well built craft from France, with modern Iso resins and a single  (monolithic) hull take everyday knocks and bumps as well as most. This one boasted a lowering bow thruster, offering in some ways the best of both worlds – easy manoeuvring in port and no extra resistance when sailing!

Interestingly these craft do seem to attract blistering to the rudder sometimes though, the cause of which is difficult to determine. Possible causes might be contaminatiuon of the mould at the build stage, or contamination of the matt or resin used within the rudder build, or the humidity being too high, the list of possible causes can be endless

Moody 31 Marine Survey, Chichester

Moody 31 Marine Survey Chichester

A Moody 31 Marine Survey for insurance renewal purposes at Chichester Marina. These Marine Projects built Moody yachts are now of an age where the vessel’s insurers will ask for a basic survey every 3 to 5 years. The insurance survey can be a cut down survey compared to a full condition survey, also known as a pre-purchase survey, details can be found on the scope section.

Items for a marine surveyor to particularly watch out for on these Moody yachts, while well built, can include corroded keel studs, the access on these twin keelers can be difficult, and possible moisture ingress into the end grain balsa core for the deck and coachroof, particularly if any enthusiastic owner has added new deck fittings and not sealed the fastenings well. Overall, sturdy vessels that are now reaching an age when maintenance requirements will increase, but proving to be generally well built.

Mark Mills 40 Survey, Hamble

Mark Mills 40 Marine Survey, Hamble

This King 40 IRC racer designed by Mark Mills and built in Argentina by King Marine was surveyed in Hamble; with then further investigation using ultasound (NDT) to the hull.

Ultrasound can be useful on high tech (exotic) structures such as carbon with accurate results, it works less well on conventional FRP such as E Glass as the returns are not as clear. Thermal imaging is another technique that can be useful for less high tech boats where further investigation is called for – by gently heating the surface any voids can heat at a different rate to the laminate without voids, thus showing up clearly. The traditional methods of hammer sounding the hull for voids and/or debonding are very valid and used by all Marine Surveyors still as the first stage investigation to the structure.

Westerly Oceanquest, Chichester

Westerly Oceanquest marine survey in Chichester

Marine Survey of a Westerly Oceanquest at Northney Marina in Chichester Harbour. I worked for Westerly Yachts in the 1980’s and this was a development of the Westerly Seahawk 34 that was produced in the 80’s.

The Westerly Oceanquest is a heavily built cruiser with a centre cockpit giving a huge owner’s cabin aft. A snug galley and saloon made this Ed Dubois design a popular Westerly. From a Marine Surveyor’s viewpoint, these are solid vessels, which generally are structurally sound, although can suffer from high moisture and sometimes moisture related defects below waterline. Otherwise the usual ancillary items that come up in many surveys need to be carefully checked – gas installation, safety and life saving equipment being out of date or insufficient, corroded sea cock valves and so on. This one had a bonded on teak faced deck, which can wear rapidly and can be a costly item to replace.

Nimbus 37 Survey, Hamble

Nimbus 37 Marine Survey, Hamble

This 1997 dark blue Nimbus 37, from Nimbus Boats AB Sweden was surveyed on the River Hamble at Eastlands Boatyard, just north of the A27 bridge, and later sea trialled in the Solent.

Nimbus Boats AB manufacture very high quality production power boats from the West coast of Sweden near Gothenburg, and are a pleasure for a Marine Surveyor to survey as few structural faults are commonly found.

Nimbus Boats use a partially foam cored hull construction for added rigidity and strength, a technique that is becoming more common in recent times to combine efficient strength to weight ratio, although a marine surveyor must be vigilant when hammer sounding the hull to check for any sign of debonding of the laminate from the core. These boats also use a bonded on grid, or tray matrix for the engine bearers and hull stiffening, which again requires careful attention to check for signs that the matrix remains fully bonded to the inner skin of the hull laminate. A dark gelcoat can suffer from UV bleaching in some cases, although Nimbus in general seem to stand up to this potential issue very well.

Dufour 36 CC Survey, Lymington

Dufour 36 Yacht Marine Survey in the slings at Lymington Yacht Haven

This Dufour 36 CC (centre cockpit), surveyed at Lymington Yacht Haven is an unusual Dufour – the majority of the 36 Classic range designed by Alain Mortain & Yiannis Mavrikios being traditional aft cockpit designs, totalling around 470 built.

The main benefit of the centre cockpit of course is the large owners cabin aft, which has full standing headroom, the downside being a higher cockpit which is further forward than a traditional aft cockpit.

I’ve surveyed a number of Dufour Yachts over the last few years, the original build quality with monolithic hull and cored FRP deck does seem to stand up to time fairly well. Sailing wise, in common with many modern designs, the low ballast ratio with cast iron keel in this case (some 36 Classic models have a lead keel) will require early reefing.

Beneteau Oceanis 37, Chichester

Beneteau Oceanis 37 Yachts Marine Survey Chichester

Beneteau Oceanis 37 Marine Survey in Chichester; Beneteau, the world’s largest boat builder make the Oceanis range as their primary cruising yacht range. The build method, in line with other models, uses an extensive internal tray matrix to stiffen the structure. This internal tray matrix is constructed off the vessel at build stage, and is dropped into the mould before the deck and internal joinery is fitted, allowing a strong chemical bond by way of epoxy paste to the hull structure. The net result is a strong design that is easy to manufacture and unless a serious impact and damage has occurred, this design method usually gives few issues. A Marine Surveyor must carefully check the tray matrix for any sign of stress or impact, and any indication of moisture between the tray and the hull, as well as hammer testing where possible to check for bonding integrity.

This particular model had no major structural issues, and was a beautifully maintained example. The design being equally suited to UK cruising or charter in warmer waters such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean, where several charter operators tend to use this range as a default, due to their robustness and value for money to purchase.

Half Tonner in Hamble

Half Tonner Marine Survey in Hamble

An old half tonner, inspected on the Hamble River for the cored deck moisture content. As a Marine Surveyor specialising in GRP (FRP) composites, I carry a selection of moisture meters to ascertain whether moisture has penetrated into the laminate and/or into the core, whether PVC foam or balsa. I use the latest Sovereign Quantum Marine Moisture Meter, which can accurately compare moisture levels on shallow (up to around 3mm deep) readings with deeper readings, including into the core itself. I also use a Tramex Skipper meter, which is excellent for decks, with two softer sensors allowing any uneven non slip paint or moulded in pattern of gelcoat to be fully in contact with the sensors, and also a Protimeter Aquant II, which is actually designed for the building trade, but likewise excellent at measuring deep into the core, while ignoring superficial moisture – which is very useful on days with poor conditions, surface moisture and for underwater surfaces that have just been pressure washed when time is short hoisted in the slings for a lunchtime hoist survey.

Wauquiez Centurion 45S, Berthon

Wauquiez 45 Marine Survey Lymington

A gorgeous Wauquiez Centurion 45S from the designers Berret / Racoupeau and built in France north of Lille, near the border of Belgium. The Wauquiez range are one of France’s finest, with the quality of finish and standard of build certainly comparable to several of the top Scandinavian marques.

Being designed by Jean Berret, it was no surprise that she sailed like a dream too, hitting over 8 knots with ease in very little wind – there are just some occasions when a Marine Surveyor does get a little jealous of the clients!

There was very little wrong with this particular craft, always a pleasure for a Marine Surveyor as well as the buyer, vendor and broker! The survey report is short, and all parties are happy, the sale goes ahead smoothly!

Hardy 42 Marine Survey

Hardy 42 Marine Survey

A Hardy 42 Marine Survey and Sea Trial in Poole, Dorset. As a Marine Surveyor, these tough, well build British semi-displacement trawler type vessels are a joy to survey. Well built throughout, and with twin Caterpillar engines giving a smooth ride, this vessel powered through the short chop outside Poole Harbour without fuss.

Very comfortable internally, with high quality finish and a luxurious owners en suite cabin aft, this design would certainly be on my list if I were looking for a similar boat. In fact, the only reason this one was for sale at all is because the owner had bought another one, new – that is testament to the quality and design of these vessels, and made in Britain too!

Hallberg-Rassy 42 Survey, Hamble

Hallberg Rassy 42 yacht marine survey for Transworld Yachts in Hamble

A Hallberg-Rassy 42 yacht marine survey in Hamble for Transworld Yachts, the UK distributor. These classic Hallberg-Rassys, designed by Christoph Rassy and Olle Enderlein have since been replaced by newer designs by German Frers.

This older design, with flush teak decks and heavy displacement with a fairly long encapsulated keel were a new generation of blue water cruising yachts and concreted the Swedish yard’s reputation for quality. Modern Hallberg-Rassys now use a PVC foam core for both the hull and deck rigidity, but back in the 1980’s when this once was built, the hull was monolithic (solid single skin), and the deck was end grain balsa cored, which gives a marine surveyor quite a headache to ascertain whether any moisture has permeated through. Modern Hallberg-Rassy’s have the teak deck bonded to the GRP, however in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the teak decks were through fastened, resulting in potential conduits for moisture to enter the core, where dowels had worn down.

Bavaria 32 Yacht Survey

Bavaria Yacht Marine Survey Hamble

A Bavaria Cruiser 32 yacht marine survey on the River Hamble, Swanwick, Hampshire. This Farr Yacht Design and BMW designed modern family cruiser was full of nice touches that make cruising that little bit easier – for example, opening coachroof windows is a key feature many boat builders omit these days.

Modern, highly automated production facilities at Bavaria Yachtbau, Germany with precision design and engineering allow an economic build with strength in the appropriate areas. Foam cored topsides and deck help reduce unnecessary weight and the high volume hull leads to a compact family cruiser that is hard to believe is under 33 feet.

Many traditional sailors have been sceptical about lighter “continental” designs, as they were when the French makers Beneteau, Jeanneau, Gibsea, Feeling, Dufour and others starting arriving at British boat shows over 3 decades ago, but by and large a marine surveyor can see that these lighter designs have proved adequate for coastal cruising, many having been used for charter, and/or blue water cruising, surprising some. There was little wrong with this particular example, having been well maintained and was good value for such a recent vessel.

S&S 48 Yawl, Gosport

An S&S 48′ Yawl in Royal Clarence Marina, Gosport for a limited scope inspection survey to the deck and topsides. These Sparkman and Stephens designs, from the pen of New York yacht designer Olin Stephens, are real classics. This sturdy 48′ yawl S&S design in GRP is a typical S&S design – the GRP was laminated pre the current engineering knowledge with very substantial single skin GRP layup. For a marine surveyor these S&S designs are a breath of fresh air, with access to the hull and internal fittings being easy inspect, with few internal mouldings to hamper inspection.

I’ve surveyed a number of these classics, including the well known SHE 31 (Built by South Hants Engineering), a She Delta (a modified SHE 31 with higher topsides), an S&S 34, which really brought these designs to the attention of British sailors when Sir Edward Heath’s “Morning Cloud” won numerous events including a Sydney Hobart and Admirals cup races. Perhaps the most famous S&S design of all was “Dorade”, a 52′ yawl which put Olin Stephens on the map when she won numerous ocean races including the RORC Fastnet race and the 1931 transatlantic race by two days. Being of narrow beam with huge overlapping genoas giving “free” rated sail area, she was a significant departure from earlier US designs, and very effective on the racing circuit, as they still are today under IRC handicap. Dorade featured many innovations of her day, including the use of steam bent timber which was revolutionary at that time, as well as sophisticated deck layout and a new design of deck vent, still manufactured today and known as “Dorade vents”.

Oyster Lightwave 395 Lymington

Oyster Lightwave survey in Lymington

An Oyster Lightwave 395 in Lymington for an insurance renewal type survey. This is a well travelled an well maintained yacht, having just competed in the Rolex Fastnet race two handed, the owner is now looking to cruise further afield including the Bay of Biscay, Portugal and the Med.

Oyster Lightwaves are interesting for a marine surveyor, as the entire hull and deck are end grain balsa cored, thus requiring careful moisture readings both above and below waterline to ensure no moisture ingress into the balsa core. This one was given a clean bill of health and was very well maintained throughout.

Princess 56 Marine Survey Hamble

Princess 56 Marine Survey Hamble

This Princess 56 marine survey on the Hamble River at RK Marine would have been a pleasure for any marine surveyor. The design by Bernard Olesinski was perhaps one of his best and the handling and performance of the Princess 56, as well as the internal layout is flawless. With a beautifully designed saloon with newly covered circular seating facing a cherry veneered joinery cabinet, a separate dining area, a master cabin, two guest cabins with twin bunks and crew quarters aft in the lazarette the accommodation would cater for most eventualities. The construction of these Princess 56 motor yachts by Marine Projects in Plymouth has stood the test of time, the single skin GRP (monolithic construction) to the hull below waterline and in the topsides was pretty much as when she was new, and with a recent hull polish she certainly did not appear to be nearly 20 years old. As is often the case with a marine survey on a boat like this, the few recommendations in the survey report related to ancillary systems such as fire extinguishers and safety gear, the structure of the vessel being sound.

Sigma 33, Berthon Lymington

Sigma 33 Marine Survey Lymington

A Sigma 33 OOD ashore at Berthon Boatyard in Lymington for a Marine Survey, this one for an insurance renewal. Most insurers will ask for a survey report once the vessel is over 20 years old. Solent Marine Surveys have developed (with the BMSE – British Marine Surveyors, Europe) a survey report template which is accepted by all UK insurers, thus we are able to reduce the cost of survey to the owner. when compared with the cost of a full condition survey.

The Sigma 33, in common with the Sigma 38 was designed by David Thomas and constructed by Marine Projects in Plymouth. They make great cruiser racers and are often seen in offshore IRC handicap races, as well as the UK National Championships. The Sigma 38 in particular is a good performer under the IRC rule, and a large fleet can be regularly seen in JOG and RORC offshore racing.

From a marine surveyor’s point of view, the hulls are of single skin GRP construction, also sometimes known as a monolithic construction. While not particularly substantial, the hulls have proved themselves durable and fairly robust, in spite of groundings when raced these yachts can often suffer. Weaker points can include the chainplate area, the end grain balsa cored decks, the mild steel original keel studs and of course any poorly repaired collision damage – a marine surveyor should always conduct many moisture readings to the deck and coachroof to establish whether any moisture has entered the balsa core, which will lead to debonding from the outer laminate, thus weakening the structure. We have surveyed many of this type, and are very familiar with the Sigma range, including the Sigma 33, Sigma 36, Sigma 362 and the Sigma 38.