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A Wasted Day

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I took the train down to Chichester today to take a look at Concerto, another Westerly Konsort. She looked fairly promising on paper - decent electronics, heating, lazy jacks: the sort of thing I wanted to add to any boat I bought1. But it didn't go well.

For a start I was half an hour early as I caught a slightly earlier train from Victoria which would get me to Chicester half an hour early. I phoned the agent in case that would be a problem figuring I could always kick my heels at Chichester for a bit but he said it wouldn't be. In fact he offered to pick me up if I could find a taxi. For the record, because this is important later, I phoned him at 11:26.

Anyway there was a taxi2 so I made my way down to West Ichinor quay. No sign of the broker but I could see a Konsort out on the pontoon with two people standing by her so I walked down in the rain. It clearly was the right boat but the people weren't the broker, they were the other people he'd arranged to see the boat!

Now bear in mind he'd originally said "I have pencilled you in for 14.00-14.30" and I'd actually arrived thirty minutes early at about 13:30. These people hadn't even got on the boat yet. God alone knows what time he'd arranged their appointment for but they were well pissed off, both that he was late and that someone else had now turned up to see the boat. So they said they were going to the pub and, if the broker turned up, to tell him they weren't interested.

So there I was, on my own, standing on the pontoon, in the rain. In the end I got on the boat (not good etiquette I know) and sheltered under the spray hood while I tried to get the broker. No answer at his office; voicemail on his mobile.

"Oh well, might as well start" I thought so under cover of the hood I put on my dungarees and life jacket (I was alone on the boat with the tide flowing quite strongly) and started to look around on deck. Compared to my first viewing of Katy Ann I went in with my eyes open, especially after re-reading this excellent post on "Boat Inspection Trip Tips" last night.

The first issue was the deck paint. It's not at all obvious from the photos but the blue paint on the deck has been applied with a brush and it doesn't look that good. Shouldn't matter, but it did.

The more serious issue was the mast step. The deck was depressed below the mast step, jusy as it was for Katy Ann. The survey on Katy Ann said this indicated

either movement of thrust post or, suspected more likely, compression or decay of deck core insert. It is likely this has occurred gradually over time. If the post and deck core are sound, then the compression will be self-limiting, however if there is movement, it should be properly addressed and rectified.

and the yard quoted me the best part of a grand to investigate and fix this issue assuming it was just decay of deck core insert, and an unspecified amount more if the thrust post needed replacing.

The third issue that struck me was the winches. That posting I mentioned above says of winches:

Wiggle them side to side, especially if they are aluminum. There should be NO play in the drum. Any play in an aluminum winch is a good sign that the bearing mating surfaces are worn or corroded due to dissimilar metals corrosion. DO NOT overlook this, winches are big $$$$$$$!

When I wiggled the winches there was a lot of play, especially in the halyard winches. The main winches looked pretty knackered too. I reckon I'd have to replace all four winches. They're not cheap, even budget single speed halyard winches are over £100 and two speed main winches start at around the £250 mark. But more importantly to me there's the extra work involved in changing them at all: I really don't want to start with a boat with lots of work to do on it.

By now I'd had enough: she felt unloved and it was a crappy day so I got off and headed back for land. At the end of the pontoon I met the broker and told him I wasn't interested, explaining why and then went to the pub for lunch.

There I bumped into the couple again. As we started talking and I started to tell him what I wasn't happy about the broker walked in. My new friend (I might have got this wrong but I think his name was Tom) said he wasn't at all happy with the double booking. The broker said "oh, that's Mr Oldham's fault, he phoned half an hour ago to bring his viewing forward".

I said nothing.

Once he'd gone we sat down together for lunch and I explained that (a) it wasn't half an hour ago but close on two and a half hours ago and (b) my booking was for 14:00 so was already far too close to Tom and his wife's even if I'd not been thirty minutes early.

We then spent an enjoyable lunchtime exchanging yarns about trying to buy a boat. They've been at it a bit longer than me: they've already had a couple fail at the survey stage. And they're not at all impressed with brokers in general and with this one in particular who has already let them down once this week by failing to turn up for a viewing.

And then I struggled home through the evening rush hour in time for my beloved to rescue me from Waterbeach. What a waste of a day.

  1. Well the details looked promising other than the photo which was clearly from another boat (since removed after I pointed this out) and another photo which I'm pretty certain is also from another boat. She's also only got two batteries rather than the three it states and I suspect - although I didn't get to look below - that the hot water and the shower may be figments of the broker's imagination too as there's no sign of them in the photos.
  2. Big thank you to Paul of Station Taxis, 07793 660661, by the way - he took me there and picked me up. And the best part was that he's a sailor too so we were able to natter about boats both ways.

Tags: sailing Written 23/02/11


Previous comments about this article:

On 23/02/11 at 10:07pm Tudor Barker wrote:

Sounds like you made the best of it :-)

Tude

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