"In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take."
Survey and Sea Trial: The Final Decision Maker

Survey and Sea Trial: The Final Decision Maker

We found the boat.  We love the boat.  We have the boat under contract.  The next step was to get the boat surveyed (or inspected) and take her out on the water to see how she sails.  At the recommendation of our broker, we contacted Alan Gaidelis with Bayside Marine Surveying, Inc. to schedule a survey and sea trial of our prospective new boat. Despite the timeline being pretty crunched, Alan graciously agreed to schedule our survey and sea trial on Tuesday, 3/12/2019.

Alan headed to the marina on Monday, 3/11/2019, to get some of the survey completed while the boat was out of the water.  After spending a few hours with the boat on Monday, he called us in the evening to discuss what he had found. Alan indicated he found a few areas of concern with the deck and starboard side hull, but, didn’t suggest that his findings were severe or concerning enough in order for us abort the boat-buying-process just yet. Both Josh and I had already arranged to take the day off from work on Tuesday, 3/12/2019, in order to make the trek to Deltaville, VA in order to be present for the rest of the survey and the sea trial. (We should have known better than taking a Tuesday off work and got more than sufficiently punished for doing so! Next time, we’ll just take the whole week off!)

After a pretty uneventful 5ish hour drive to Deltaville, we met Alan and sat down for a briefing on his findings thus far. Alan reviewed his findings with both the deck and the starboard side hull, which both appeared to be indicative of failed repair jobs. Alan also noted that a few lights were out, that variety of safety gear had been last serviced in 2008 and that the marine had not recommissioned the boat from being winterized in order to have the rest of its systems checked and complete the sea trial.

At this point, I came a little bit unhinged, though I tried really hard to hide it. Without the boat being recommissioned, Alan would not be able to complete his survey of all the systems on the boat. And, we wouldn’t be taking the boat for a sea trial. I was PANICKING! Luckily, Alan and our broker, Spencer, are FANTASTIC and very diplomatically notified the marina that the boat needed to be recommissioned…PRONTO!

The marina needs some serious credit here because they made it happen, in record time! Yard workers flocked to the boat and began connecting batteries, starting the generator and starting the engine. And, much to our surprise and delight, everything started right up! Alan completed his survey of the boat’s systems, which yielded some additional small concerns.


Our planned departure time for the sea trial was 1200, but, with the work that the marina staff needed to complete to recommission the boat, we ended up untying the lines around 1230.  There were 6 of us on the boat for the sea trial – me, Josh, Spencer the broker, Alan the surveyor, Lynn the marina lady and Captain Anton.  We motored out the channel while Alan performed checks of the engine at both cruise speed and full throttle.  Once we cleared the narrow channel, we got to put out the sails!  It was the perfect day for a sea trial in the middle of the winter!  57º, beautiful sunshine and 10 – 15 mph winds.  It doesn’t much than that!

While researching sea trials, I read somewhere that the recommendation was to sit back and relax, enjoy the sea trial and don’t get too involved in actually making it happen.  This would be the only opportunity for me to be on the boat, completely enjoying it, and not doing any worrying about anything.  Ya know…since it’s not ours yet.  So, that was my plan.  Josh, on the other hand, was anxious and completely ready to dive into sailing our prospective new boat.  And did so excitedly during the sea trial.  Josh got to unfurl the mainsail, unfurl the jib and even got the opportunity to steer a little bit while under sail.  All the while, Alan was scurrying about, checking systems, sails and gauges.  I was really surprised that even with 6 people onboard and in the cockpit, there was plenty of space for more people!  Ultimately, all of the sails and systems checked out, showing signs of age consistent with the age of the boat, but still in very usable condition.







Once returning to the dock, Alan, Spencer, Josh and myself sat down to review Alan’s overall findings and try to come up with a game plan about how to move forward.  Many of the issues discovered during Alan’s survey appear to be fairly consistent with a production boat of this age and did not seem to be out of line, other than the deck and hull repairs.  We decided to wait for Alan’s final report and would most likely go back to the owner to request an adjustment to our purchasing price in order address the deck and hull concerns.

Overall, we were really pleased with the survey and sea trial!  We were very happy to see that most of the systems on the 16 year old boat functioned as they should and that the condition of the boat is consistent with what we’re looking for – something we can sail on the bay today but may require some upgrades prior to us leaving for an extended adventure.

Let me take a moment to say that we absolutely loved our surveyor, Alan.  Given the need, we would absolutely pick or recommend him, every single time, to conduct a thorough, honest survey and sea trial. Josh and I are both very direct, straightforward communicators with little to no filter. Alan was the perfect fit for us!  Alan also made sure to tell us that, going forward, he will happily answer any questions we have or offer any assistance he can in order to help us sort things out.  Only half joking, I let him know that I predicted he and I would end up being pen-pals.  He didn’t seem to mind, but, we’ll see how he feels when he gets his 200th e-mail from me.  🙂

If you’re looking for a great surveyor worth every penny, get in touch with Alan!

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