Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Buying a boat continued

We’re getting to know downtown Seattle pretty well.  Yesterday we left La Conner just late enough to miss most of rush hour – that’s how well we know the place, we know when rush hour starts and finishes.  We met Don Fairchild at the Costco south of Qwest Centre and took him out to look at Gray Hawk.  For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Don is one of the foremost authorities on 2-stroke Detroits in North America.  In that capacity he sees mostly marine installations and since I knew he was going to be in Seattle anyway I asked him if he would have a look at Gray Hawk’s engine room with me.

I don’t think either the marine survey or Don & my mechanical survey turned up anything that we didn’t know already.  The boat is 30 years old so it’s no virgin.  It’s got old systems and some of them need some work.  The marine survey confirmed what we already suspected, namely that the boat is in excellent condition notwithstanding its age. 

The trip over and back to Seaview Marina was our first experience at sea on this size of a vessel.  Both of us and the boat handled it well.  The Naiad stabilizers are simply amazing.  The sea conditions weren’t bad when we left the dock but by the time we got home they were getting pretty snotty.  The stabilizers performed as advertised.  Without them engaged we were rolling through 30 or 40 degrees.  When we engaged the Naiads there would be a moment of hesitation while the gyro got orientated and then the boat would literally snap back to under a 10 degree roll.  You could easily feel the fins take control.

Jerry-the-surveyor did his woodpecker routine over the entire hull and pronounced it sound.  For those of you who don’t know, marine surveyors spend a lot of their time going tap-tap-tap with a small hammer over the entire hull, the interior scantlings and the interior woodwork looking for voids or rot.  I had expected to see at least some underwater fibreglass blisters because they are ubiquitous on hulls of this age but there absolutely were none.  He found a small amount of active interior rot and evidence of some previous  window leakage.  We already knew about the window leakage and I had assumed there must be at least some rot that we weren’t aware of so we really didn’t learn a lot from that. 

Jerry-the-surveyor had a few comments about the engines but the visit yesterday with Don was much more informative.  Lehman 120s (which is what we have for power) are dead reliable workhorses.  I’ve seen lifespans between total rebuild as high as 25,000 hours quoted and 12-15,000 hours seems to be a normal expectation.  That means that at 4200 hours on ours we shouldn’t have to budget any in-frames in the near future.  There are some unique maintenance requirements though, including a requirement to change the oil in the injection pump sump every 50 hours.  I doubt these have ever been changed which may explain why they are fairly hard starters now.  It sounds like even with regular pump oil changes the injection pumps would be due for a rebuild by now so that will be an early priority.

The other thing that the sea trial and haulout confirmed is just how massively built these boats really are.  I have heard many people say that their Defever will take way more than they can stand and I’m sure that will be true for us as well.  The picture above shows my Blackberry leaning against the fibreglass cutout saved from when the bowthruster was installed.  Seeing the boat hanging in the slings at haulout it was clear that there is just about as much boat underwater as there is above water.  Our captain for the trip remarked on how well the boat handled but also commented that it behaved like a deep draft vessel.  On his own boat he is accustomed to scooting the bow sideways with his bow thruster.  On ours he noted that it was much slower to respond to the bow thruster because of its deep keel but particularly because of its deep forefoot.

The next step is to get insurance in place and take possession.  Yesterday we made arrangements to have the boat hauled so that we can do some work on it in January.  There’s nothing major that needs to be done but there are some zincs that need changing, some coolant hoses that have deteriorated, I’d like to change the raw water impellers and I may pull the injection pumps and have them rebuilt.  It’s a machine so it’s going to need service.  My goal is always to do that as maintenance rather than as repairs.  Some days I’m more successful than others.

1 comment:

Reluctant Cowboy said...

I'm so happy for both of you.
Congradulations Captn!