Bavaria 55 Cruiser, Hamble

Bavaria 55 Marine Survey

This Bavaria 55 Cruiser Marine Survey was conducted by Guy Nicholls at the Michael Schmidt / Impression Marine office at Hamble Point Marina, Hamble.

This particular vessel was previously based in Antibes at Port Vauban and looked after by a full time professional skipper. She had arrived at Hamble by sea having been delivered by a professional delivery crew, requiring only a quick spruce up before being ready to sell. The owner was buying a larger Hanse from this company.

Hanse 470e Hamble

Hanse 470e ashore in Hamble for a marine survey

A Hanse 470e in Hamble for a pre-purchase marine survey by Guy Nicholls. The Hanse 470e, the “e” standing for epoxy, are incredibly strong – built with a vacuum bagged prepreg epoxy/Corecell foam sandwich construction which is then post cured. They feature a huge galvanised steel grid connecting the keel and chainplate loads, which is fully laminated into the hull structure, together with fully laminated in bulkheads rather than the common use of adhesive epoxy paste as a means of bonding the vessel’s bulkheads and tray matrix. A very strongly built vessel, they don’t make them like that anymore!

Beneteau Oceanis 40 Hamble

Beneteau Oceanis 40

A Beneteau Oceanis 40 Marine Survey by Guy Nicholls, Marine Surveyor Hamble.

The Oceanis range from Beneteau are very popular providing great accommodation at reasonable cost. Constructed of single skin (monolithic) GRP to the hull and a cored deck, these boats make extensive use of internal mouldings including a tray matrix or grid, to provide rigidity.


J/109 Marine Survey Hamble

J/109 Marine Survey in Hamble at Key Yaching, the J Boat UK distributor

A J/109 Marine Survey at Key Yachting, Hamble by Guy Nicholls, Marine Surveyor Hamble.

I’ve done several of this particular model over the last years, and dozens of others in the J Boat line up. As with others, an end grain balsa cored hull, originally these vessels also had balsa cored decks and superstructure, this was later changed to a closed cell pvc foam in the superstructure. This type is generally seen in the top sections of the results sheets, both inshore cans racing and offshore. This particular one is off to Holland, where the European buyers seem to keep on coming, given the favourable EUR/GBP rate we’ve had over the last several months.

Hallberg Rassy 36 Hamble

Hallberg Rassy 36 Marine Survey Hamble

A marine survey of a Hallberg Rassy 36 at Transworld Yachts in Hamble by Guy Nicholls, Marine Surveyor.

I’ve surveyed dozens of this well known brand in the last year or so. Well constructed, pvc foam cored topsides and partially cored below the waterline for insulation, leaving key areas such as the centreline and around skin fittings to transition to monolithic construction. Generally these types have little structural issues, but often when the bonded on teak decks have been scrubbed or worse, pressure washed, these will require refurbishment or even replacement. Prior to the last 90’s, the teak decks were through fastened, allowing any worn areas to potentially loose the dowels and allow moisture down the fastening to the cored deck; thankfully now with modern adhesives this is no longer an issue.

Grand Soleil 46 Hamble

Grand Soleil 46 Marine Survey in Hamble

A marine survey of a Grand Soleil 46 at Key Yachting in Hamble by Guy Nicholls, qualified Marine Surveyor.

These performance cruiser racers are well known on the IRC racing circuit and can also be cruised short handed when required. With a low centre of gravity and a pvc foam cored construction to both hull and superstructure, they are well optimised for weight distribution and are built to a good standard by Cantiere Del Pardo srl in Italy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

Princess 45, Hamble

Princess Survey Hamble

This 1989 Princess 45 Marine Survey for insurance renewal in Hamble reminded me just how good these Bernard Olesinski / Marine Projects craft were. A real pleasure for a Marine Surveyor to inspect, this one had the twin Cats which didn’t leave a lot of room around the engines – the fuel tanks are one weak point.

Beneteau First 47.7, Hamble

Beneteau First

Beneteau First 47.7 Yacht Marine Survey in Hamble. This Beneteau First designed by Bruce Farr and built by Beneteau as a performance cruiser racer has been well travelled, including two Atlantic trips and a long stay in the Caribbean. Recently resprayed in Awlcraft by Desty Marine in Hamble she represents an excellent value fast cruiser.

Beneteau First 34.7, Hamble

Beneteau First

Beneteau First 34.7 Marine Survey at Ancasta in Port Hamble. The 34.7 is Beneteau’s IRC racer/cruiser answer to the likes of the J/109, X35 and Archambault 35. Designed with a low CofG fin keel with a lead torpedo bulb, the optional carbon rig and carbon bowsprit and a lightweight interior, this vessel should be highly competitive in IRC fleets around the country, inshore cans racing or JOG & RORC offshore racing.

Moody 376, Hamble

Moody 376

Moody 376 Yacht Marine Survey at the RAFYC scrubbing dock in Hamble. Designed by Bill Dixon and built by Marine Projects of Plymouth, who also built the Princess range of Power Yachts and the Sigma range of cruiser racers. A great cruiser with very comfortable main saloon and owner’s aft cabin.

Hanse 455, Universal Marina

Hanse 455 Marine Survey, at Universal Marina on the river Hamble. The Hanse 415, a stylish German production cruiser / racer with modern interior at Universal Marina, Hamble River. This Hanse in excellent condition and offering a good combination of accommodation and performance.

Bavaria 39 Cruiser, Hamble

Bavaria Sailing Yacht

Bavaria 39 Cruiser Yacht Marine Survey for Sea Ventures in Hamble. The Bavaria range have changed the face of boatbuilding over the last decade or so with high production, high volume designs that have proved most popular with charter fleets and private buyers alike due to their unbeatable value.