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Recent Work

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that come up in many surveys need to be carefully checked – gas installation, safety and life saving equipment being out of date or insufficient, corroded sea cock valves and so on.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.

Sunseeker Marine Survey Portsmouth

Sunseeker ashore for a marine survey in Portsmouth

A Sunseeker Hawk 27 ashore for a marine survey near Portsmouth – Trafalgar Wharf in Porchester which overlooks Port Solent Marina opposite. Sunseeker, a Poole based UK company have built up a reputation over decades for sea-kindly hulls, derived from race type hull forms and adapted for leisure use. Sunseeker hulls are well built, however do sometimes reveal some debonding particularly to the deck as this is a cored (also known as sandwich) method of construction, which allows lighter weight and/or stiffer sections than traditional single skin FRP construction. A Marine Surveyor is required to both hammer sound and take many moisture readings to ascertain any moisture related debonding issues. When conducting this part of a marine survey, I am unique in using 3 different moisture meters: A Sovereign Quantum, a Tramex Skipper and a Protimeter Aquant to allow me to fully evaluate any moisture entrapment either within the GRP laminate or within the core.

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.

Cranchi 33, Hamble

Cranchi 33 ashore in the slings for a marine survey at Hamble

A Cranchi 33 in the slings ashore at Hamble for the underwater element of the marine survey. Most of the survey can be carried out afloat, however a lunchtime hoist is often used when the vessel is required back in the water after the survey to save cost. The Cranchi range, by Cantiere Nautico Cranchi dates back to 1870 from Lake Como, Italy.

Fairline Squadron 48 Southampton

Fairline Squadron 48 in the slings at Saxon Wharf, Southampton before a marine survey

A Fairline Squadron 48 at Saxon Wharf, Southampton for a hull only marine survey. The Fairline Squadron is a modern design, boasting numerous innovations such as the submersible bathing platform and allows a jet ski type personal watercraft to be easily launched. Large hull portlights let in natural light into the warm saloon and owner’s cabin, and the twin Volvo Penta IPS600-435 diesels give around 30 knots, while allowing pinpoint manoeuvring while in a marina, regardless of wind or tide with the modern joystick type control. Foam core in the deck and superstructure, with integrally moulded engine bearers, with transverse and longitudinal stingers gives a rigid structure without excessive weight. A marine surveyor looks for deformations and other defects in the structure, in this case some minor areas of deformations within the teak soled cockpit were found, quickly rectified by the excellent Fairline warranty team.

Quarter Tonner, Hamble

Quarter Tonner

Quarter Tonner Marine Survey.  A quarter tonner by French designer, Jacques Fauroux in 1980 and still winning 35 years later. Fully refurbished by Yachting Sports Ltd, Hamble with a converted rig to remove runners and checkstays. Yachting Sports Ltd are a company I have worked with several times: in the heart of Hamble Point Marina they are noted for their exceptional craftsmanship and are often asked to make modifications after delivery to Nauticat Yachts where one owner decided he wanted to fit a bath in the aft cabin! The joinery detail is second to none and has led them to a number of refurbishment projects on Hallberg Rassys, Najads and other blue water cruisers.

Westerly Oceanquest Hythe

Westerly Oceanquest Marine Survey at Hythe Marina Village after a marine survey ashore

A Westerly Oceanquest 35 at her berth in Hythe Marine Village near Southampton after a full pre-purchase marine survey ashore there. I am a previous employee of Westerly Yachts myself (Westerly Yachts Ltd came after Westerly Marine Construction, which was founded in 1963, folded in 1980) and traded from 1981 to 1991, thereafter the new company, Westerly Yacht Construction merged with several other local builders, starting with Victoria Marine and later Rival Bowman and Starlight. The Westerly Oceanquest is in effect a revamp of the previous generation of Ed Dubois designs, the aft cockpit Westerly Falcon in this case, which shared the same hull as the Westerly Seahawk centre cockpit. The designs are all a fairly typical Westerly designs: High beam, high freeboard to accommodate a large saloon, well built with some might say overbuilt GRP work, at a time when resin costs were sky rocketing again it is easy to see why lighter designs, particularly from France were so much more profitable.

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.

Hallberg Rassy 40 Hamble

Hallberg Rassy Marine Survey

A Hallberg Rassy 40 in the water at Hamble Point Marina, Hamble for a Tonnage Measurement Survey for British Registration. The tonnage measurement is fairly straightforward, accurately measuring the length overall excluding bow rollers and other overhangs, the max beam excluding rubbing strips, and then the depth at half length. The depth measurement is less straightforward, requiring the tonnage measurer to estimate the centreline height at deck level excluding the coachroof, thus estimating the deck camber and measuring to the upper side of the keel, or bilge if a keel sump exists. The resulting measurement gives an idea of the volume, or tonnage, of the interior, for holding cargo such as wheat, wine or beer!

Princess 45 Southampton

Princess 45 Marine Survey, Southampton

A classic Princess 45 by Bernard Olesinski and built by Marine Projects in Plymouth. These timeless designs may be getting elderly but are very much in demand. This particular marine survey at Shamrock Quay in Southampton was for an insurance renewal, often required when vessels are over 20 years old in order to check the structure and systems are safe. With a well built, single skin hull and substantial GRP laminate lay-up, these designs may well outlast more modern lighter alternatives.

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.

X-Yachts X372, Hamble

An X372, by X-Yachts in River Hamble for an insurance survey

An X372 by X-Yachts, later replaced by the X362 Sport, and similarly a highly effective IRC racing competitive yacht. The Niels Jeppesen X Yacht range have always been competitive under the IRC rating rule, the X332 in the UK becoming so prevalent in the previous decade a one design fleet often numbered over 30 in key regattas such as the HRSC Winter Series, the WSC Spring Series and Cowes weeks. The cored GRP construction adds rigidity without excessive weight, although debonding is a key defect for a marine surveyor to check for, by hammer sounding the hull and deck carefully.

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.

Sigma 362, Hamble

Sigma, Marine Projects, Survey, Hamble

A Sigma 362 Marine Insurance Survey at Universal Marina on the River Hamble. These classic single skin FRP hull David Thomas designed, Marine Projects built cruiser racers in my opinion are under-rated compared with the more well known Sigma 33 OOD and her bigger sister the Sigma 38 OOD. With a little more displacement than your average cruiser / racer, these yachts sail well and rate well under IRC handicap, as I recall clearly when we raced against one called Software Mistress a few years ago!

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.