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”.

Gibsea 76 at Gosport

Gibsea Marine Survey at Gosport Marina

A Gibsea 76 at Gosport Marina, Gosport for a marine survey. Gibsea, also known as Gib’sea, built by Gilbert Marine in France were a smaller production builder than the French giants of Beneteau or Jeanneau, however were well built for the era. Caravela Yachts of Hamble imported these popular French cruisers into the UK in the 1980’s and 90’s, with hundreds sold. Gibsea were rescued in the mid 1990’s by Dufour and continued production.

The boats have lasted well and with the single skin FRP hull have proved robust, the internal joinery being well finished and the accommodation practical. Rob Humphreys was called in to take over from Group Graal, Jacques Fauroux and Joubert Nivelt as the in house designer in the late 1980’s, with designs such as the Gibsea 312 and Gibsea 414 being good performance cruiser / racers and achieving good results on the IRC circuit. The company was also well known for its earlier racers, such as the Flush Poker 27 and various quarter tonners.

Classic Yacht Survey, Portsmouth

Classic Yacht Survey at Gosport

A classic long keel traditional yacht, surveyed in Eastney Cruising Association in Portsmouth. This classic yacht had been modified with a skeg hung rudder, rather than the original design that had the rudder on the aft side of the keel, where the mouldings clearly show where the rudder heel fittings would have been. Such modification of a yacht’s design is not normally to be taken lightly, affecting the balance and the steering.

This particular yacht had also undergone major rebuild and upgrading, including removal of the previously end grain balsa cored deck structure – modifications included replacing the balsa core with Nidaplast core, a honeycomb cellular structure with reinforced polypropylene which is lightweight and rot proof, although can suffer from reduced bonding properties compared with balsa. In this case, some debonding of the new structure was found to the deck and the companionway bridgehead.

HT27 Catamaran Portsmouth

Heavenly Twins HT27 catamaran in the slings for a Marine Survey at Southsea Marina, Portsmouth

A Heavenly Twins HT27 cruising catamaran in the slings at Southsea Marina, Portsmouth for a marine pre-purchase survey. These sturdy cruising catamarans are often used for low budget blue water cruising as they offer a huge amount of accommodation for a relatively low cost with their small length – thus making mooring fees, hoisting fees and ancillary maintenance costs much lower than one might find with larger yachts. This type has been found to be very stable and several of the type have made long distance passages without incident. As with any older vessel, a marine surveyor is on the look out for structural issues, this one had major GRP work to the bridgedeck area some years ago by JWS Marine Services in Southsea. Rudders can also be an issue with this design, often appearing fairly weak and in need of reinforcement.

Jeanneau Sunrise at Gosport

Jeanneau Sunrise 34 having an insurance survey at Gosport Boatyard

A Jeanneau Sunrise 34 undergoing a marine survey for insurance purposes at Gosport Boatyard. These Jaques Fauroux designs were moderate in displacement, beam, sail area and shape, giving a comfortable boat to sail with no major vices, being much less beamy than more modern designs. Jeanneau started building in GRP in 1958 and the Jeanneau Sunrise model production ran from 1984 to 1989 with over 600 of the type manufactured. Jeanneau are now part of the Beneteau Group, having been briefly run as a cooperative. This model design with one double aft cabin are very good value on the second hand market. Typical areas for a marine surveyor to be wary of are the underwater surfaces having high moisture content and/or blistering, although being a single skin construction below the waterline there is no concern of moisture within the core below waterline. Keel studs are typically encapsulated with GRP and are therefore not an issue, and the cored deck can often have areas of high moisture which requires monitoring.

Beneteau First 40.7, Gosport

Beneteau First 40.7

Beneteau First 40.7 Survey at Gosport Boatyard. These popular fast cruiser racers came under the spotlight when a tragic keel failure was attributed to the failure of the internal tray matrix, which is bonded to the hull at manufacture. The bonding of the tray matrix to the hull can be difficult to establish and a marine surveyor must be vigilant, checking for any signs of movement, cracking, repairs, internal moisture and careful hammer sounding around the matrix structure.

Sweden 370, Gosport

Sweden 370 Marine Survey, Hornet, Gosport

At the Hornet Services Sailing Club, Gosport, this beautiful Sweden 370 was hoisted for me to conduct a full condition survey, also known as a pre-purchase survey. The Swedish craftsmanship and quality is one of the best, this 1999 model from Sweden Yachts with FRP cored hull and a lead keel was built with no expense spared. 16 years later, the quality of the original manufacture was evident, with no recommendations necessary within the hull and structure sections of the survey report. The Hornet area, adjacent to Haslar Marina in Gosport, is right next to HMS Alliance.

Nimbus 3003, Gosport

Nimbus Marine Survey Gosport

A Nimbus 3003 Scandinavian quality powerboat in the slings at Gosport Boatyard for a “lunchtime hoist” for a marine survey. These are high quality open plan powerboats, single screw and no surprise, a Volvo Penta single diesel. With large cockpit and a sunroof, the gallery is outside making it fantastic for those lovely summer days.

Fisher 37, Gosport

Fisher, Northshore, Marine Survey

A Fisher 37 from Northshore Yachts in the Sea Lift at Haslar Marina, Gosport for a marine survey. The sea lift at Haslar Marina is ideal for hoists in the Gosport area of Portsmouth Harbour for 1 hour lifts for the purposes of a marine survey. The Fisher 37 is a heavy traditional motor sailor by Northshore Yachts at Itchenor, who also made the Vancover blue water cruisers and the Southerly range of shallow draft cruisers.

Bavaria 30 Sport Cruiser

Bavaria 30 Sport

Bavaria Sport 30 Marine Survey at Moodys, Swanwick. The Bavaria Sport range are a great boat for a Yacht Surveyor: good access to structure internally, single skin construction below the waterline and a foam core to the topsides and deck; good structural stiffening around the engines, this one with twin Volvo Penta 4.3 GXiE-M with sterndrives.

Beneteau First 40.7, Gosport

Beneteau First

Beneteau First 40.7 Yacht Marine Survey in Gosport. This 7 year old vessel by Chantiers Beneteau of France has been kept in great order, and although lightly chartered remains in excellent order. these popular vessels are used for cruising, racing under IRC and charter. the Beneteau method of construction using an internal tray matrix moulding is something a marine surveyor needs to be very vigilant over: any slight cracking, high moisture content or suspected debonding requires the keel to be unshipped for further inspection of the laminate structure.