February – survey nerves

Insurance surveys don’t come round very often, but it’s a finger chewing time when they do. What’s going to be found and how much will it cost?

We’ve been lucky with our insurers, who haven’t insisted on a survey since we bought Spring Fever in 2009. Our current insurers gave us a year’s notice that we’d need one this winter.

The survey has just been completed by Adrian Stone of Cowes. The good news is that the main work needed is a job we have been contemplating anyway, which is replacing the standing rigging.

Out of the water and pressure scrubbed.

It still looks acceptable on close inspection, but one of the risks with stainless wire and fittings is sudden failure, as likely from a hidden crack in a steel piece as from the wire itself. Some insurers are said to ask for replacement every 10 years but our standing rigging has lasted a full 13 seasons.

Other than, that Spring Fever has come out well from the survey for a 34 year-old boat with one significant exception: the P-bracket that holds the prop shaft has come slightly loose, and will have to be reinforced, a small job but an awkward one that will need an expert to do. The loose bracket has caused heavy wear on the cutlass bearing on the shaft. Other than that, the recommendations were minor.

Four years ago we commissioned a really big job, repair of delamination around the keel. If that hadn’t been found in late 2017 it would have been a big shock to find it alongside new standing rigging, but we got it out of the way. We also had a new engine installed in 2019.

It’s been expensive over the last four years, but keeping the boat up to scratch brings real reassurance when things get tough out there. The survey has been delivered to the insurers, Topsail, and the policy renewed.

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