So you’ve done your research, sorted out that an Ericson 26 would be an appropriate small cruising boat you could live with, and within your budget. Hell, you even built a dinghy to prove to yourself you were not a tyro, had the mindset and needful skills to fix up the Ericson, and you’re ready to go look at the sucker cash-in-hand but your buddy and everyone on that forum tells you you need to get a surveyor.
Here’s the thing…
One, you don’t need a surveyor and two, the boat’s already sold.
A good surveyor might make sense if you’re paying big bucks for a boat but not so much if you’re talking about a fixer-upper that costs less than the surveyors fee. For a VolksCruiser you’re better off doing your own survey.
Don Casey has a decent book on the subject that you might want to check out as it makes a good outline of the things you need to look at.
When I look at a boat I’m mostly concerned with the hull, deck, and rig. Everything else I’d rip out and rebuild the interior and systems from scratch as it’s faster and cheaper than trying to work around or make sense with what previous owners have done to the boat. The other advantage of starting fresh is that you set up things in a way that makes sense.
When you do your self-survey make sure to take lots of pictures/videos and take note or narrate the survey so if you need to talk to someone about the boats issues they have as much information as possible to base their advice on. Some time ago a reader sent me a ton of photos on a Bolger design he was considering and it was easy for me to offer advice and the sad conclusion that it would be a big mistake to consider the project.
But why bother as the boat is already sold. Right?
The thing is, good deals on boats don’t ever last long. Show me a boat that has been sitting with a For Sale sign for a year and I’ll know it’s selling for way too much. On the other hand, boats that are priced to move, move quickly.
Which is why, when looking for your VolksCruiser, you really need to be ready…