Thanks Gary. I was just limbering up my fingers to type what you quoted; right on the money as a matter of fact.
Although this surveyor may be very competent and a good fellow and all, this is a very classic example of a huge CYA/cover your #**. In our increasingly lathered in lawyers world, those who render opinions for pay have to cover every possible element which is, of course, impossible. So they resort to tactics such as what has been done in the instance of your 99.9% surely still good keel bolts, just so they don’t have to face the music if something inexplicably goes wrong. Or even explicably. Years ago, a Super Maramu on the hard in the Caribbean got ‘totaled’ by its insurance carrier due to severe structural damage due to a hurricane. It was incapable of being made into a monocoque once again. That didn’t prevent it being purchased, without the benefit of a marine expert survey, and sailed away. Once again proving the old salesman’s dictum, ‘there’s an #** (see above) for every seat’. Everything seemed to be going well until the boat was run hard aground at high speed into a underwater rock ledge which separated the iron ballast completely from the fiberglass stub keel. Inexplicably (there’s that word again), this boat was once again repaired, the owner having removed the boat from the Caribbean/scene of the original total loss damage to an area where it was ‘inspected’ by an inexperienced but accredited surveyor who had never seen an Amel before and didn’t get the word that the boat had been, uhh, completely broken. The owner was then able to insure it before he crashed it and prevailed on his underwriter to once again repair a boat twice totalled after he had his high speed interface with the solid immovable object. This Amel was once again recently resold and is still amongst us. Buyer Beware…
The first question EVERYBODY needs to ask when contemplating ANY engagement of a marine surveyor is how many Amel’s have they previously inspected? Ask for a ‘name removed’ copy of a recent survey and read it carefully. Does it accurately describe an Amel? Are things like the correct metal the fuel tank is made from and other details such as the absence of a conventional hull to deck joint, the need to keep the hole in the bottom of the rudder blade, the full earth return/floating ground system on the D.C. circuits…if it doesn’t, don’t use him. Discuss these elements with the surveyor if not mentioned in the report to see if he is aware of them. Surveyors are like any professional occupation. A huge bunch of mediocre ones, some good ones and a very, very few great ones.
Use Olivier Beaute if at all possible when in Europe. Of course he is more expensive than someone with no specific Amel knowledge but the alternative is not worth considering if you want a full and accurate report. Over here I have a couple of surveyors I work with and actually instruct on specific things to look for based on having sold more than 400 used Amel boats over the last 33 years. Having had access to information from and conversation with Olivier and other Amel technical folks over three decades is a great source of solid information I am pleased to share with fellow Amel owners. A survey by an inexperienced surveyor is not worth the paper it is printed on and an incorrect one can cost you big time if there is ever the need to file a claim. Get a surveyor who comes well recommended. Make him gently prove he is worth your trust and money. Attend the entire survey from start to finish. Get a satisfying explanation/clarification on any element you are unsure of or uncomfortable with at the time you receive the written report. If it sounds like a CYA/cover your #**, it probably is.
Hope this helps, Joel
Joel F. Potter/Cruising Yacht Specialist LLC
THE AMEL GUY
954 462 5869
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of amelliahona
Sent: Saturday, January 17, 2015 7:22 AM
Subject: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: A Super Maramu Keel Bolts
I asked Joel at one time if I needed to consider changing the keel bolts on Liahona (SM #335, 2001). He indicated that he had a customer once who insisted on having them changed. The factory tried to accomodate him. They undid all the nuts, and tried to get the keel to come off. They pried, shook, lifted the boat etc and the keel would not come off. In addition to the keel bolts he said that Amel attaches the keel with a super strong adhesive. Finally the Amel yard cut the PRC stub keel off because they could not get the keel to come off! They reglassed a new stub keel in place and attached the original keel with new bolts. Joel's advice, and I am sure Chantier's Amel's, would say the same, "don't try to change the keel bolts, it isn't necessary". Joel, please forgive me if I have mis-quoted you or mis-represented Amel's policy about this.
Just for fun you might google up "the Waddington Effect" related to prevenetative maintenance. Mike Busch has published a lot on this research. This is aircraft related but the actually research has shown that invasive preventative maintenance is actually harmful and leads to failures and accidents (in aircraft at least). My recent experience with changing all the standing rigging (moderately invasive, and details to follow when I have good internet) lends credence to this theory.
All the best,
s/v Liahona Amel SM 335 delivered July 2001, currently on the hook at Deshaie, Guadeloupe
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