07:30. We’re down at the dock. The appointment with the two surveyors is at 08:00, but we’re early, of course. The broker has already opened the boat for us, a good omen. We’re ready for a long survey day, with Terry, the hull-and-systems surveyor, and Bob, the mechanical surveyor.

Bob’s examination of the engines will take about 3 hours. Before leaving us, he will give us an informed opinion about the engines and associated systems, and hopefully confirm that, from his point of view, we can go ahead with our purchase. He will later confirm his observations and advice in a written report.

During that time, Terry will visually examine the boat and its equipment,  and write down his observations on any defect that should be addressed before the sale is complete. Some time between 11:00 and 12:00, the boat will be hauled out of the water, so Terry can assess the condition of the hull, propellers, rudders, seacocks, etc.

When he’s finished – early afternoon probably – the boat will be launched back into the water, and we will proceed to the sea-trials: on the water, the engines will be run at various settings and speeds. Terry will take measurements of RPM’s, engine temperatures, etc. to later compare them to the manufacturer’s specifications. He will also test all systems to make sure that they are in working condition.

Between 4 and 5 PM, we will get back to the dock. Terry will give us a general opinion about our proposed purchase. Within a couple of days, he will produce a detailed report which will serve as a basis for our final negociations with the seller, and for getting quotations from insurance companies.

But… I’m getting ahead of myself… In reality, during the first hour, Nelly and I take turns watching the surveyors crawl into the bilges and taste all kinds of strange liquid cocktails oozing out of the engines and of the tanks. We listen carefully to their comments and feed them with a lot of questions. We exchange anxious glances as the situation develops. Soon, it becomes clear that we’re not going to buy this boat.

I ask for a break to decide on what to do next, and I suggest we call it quits instead of further wasting our time and money. They easily agree, though they are losing revenues that they will not recover.

We wrap things up with a brief conference with the broker. We officially inform him that we are rejecting the boat, so that our offer to purchase is void. We part with our surveyors, but we liked the way they worked, and we will do our best to retain them for our next boat… when we find one.

In the meantime, we’re back to square one…