Recent Posts by Nicolas Fieldhouse

Flooded Yacht: Damage Survey

I was recently asked to undertake a Damage Survey of a flooded yacht. My instruction from the Insurance Company was to inspect and assess the nature, extent and cause of the damage to the vessel.

Water had entered the vessel over a period of time, leaving the boat low in the water and the engine partially submerged.

Mud accumulation around rudder bearing assembly

She was inspected out of the water at East Cowes, Isle of Wight. In my search for the cause of the leak and working my way from bow to stern, I found water and muddy residue around the upper bearing & seal of the rudder assembly. This provided good evidence that water had leaked into the vessel from the top of the bearing assembly. At this stage of the inspection, I could have packed up, gone back to my office and simply reported that the rudder bearing & seal assembly was the most likely origin of the leak. This conclusion would have been unsatisfactory as it would have required the re-floating of the vessel in order to test & confirm that the rudder bearing & seal assembly was leaking. This task would have involved significant additional costs, which would have to be borne by the Insurance Company or the Insured.

Flooding from around rudder bearing assembly of sailing yacht

In order to confirm that water had leaked around the seal of the rudder bearing, I built a dam around the bearing assembly, which was then fed with water from a hose. I then went outside to check for water. The YouTube video shows the test.

The result of this test confirmed that the faulty or worn water seal of the rudder bearing was the proximate cause of the water ingress. The head of pressure on the bearing seal from this water test was approximately 2 to 5 cm, which was considered to be very low. The rate of water leaking was estimated to be at least 3 to 4 drops per second. When the vessel was originally afloat, the pressure head would have been approximately 20 cm, which would have created a flooding rate that would have been approximately 4 to 10 times greater than the leakage rate seen during this test, although this rate would have been reduced due to the accumulation of mud inside the rudder bearing & seal assembly.

If you have any questions regarding this Damage Survey, please leave a comment or contact us via our website.

Yacht Insurance Survey

A Yacht Insurance Survey may be required by your Insurance Company. If your Insurance Company has made it a condition of cover, Fieldhouse Yacht Surveys and Consulting Ltd can undertake the Insurance Survey for you. Our reports are accepted by all of the marine insurance underwriters. [gallery type="slideshow" ids="138,143,291,520"] The Insurance Survey report will be…
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Insurance Survey of Etap 32i

I have nearly completed the Insurance Survey report for the inspection of this Etap 32i. These boats were designed by Philippe Harlé & Alain Mortain and built by Etap Yachting of Belgium. About 150 were built between 1992 and 2000, making this 32i one of the earlier ones. [caption id="attachment_611" align="alignnone" width="1764"] Insurance Survey of…
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Insurance Survey of Princess 45

[caption id="attachment_530" align="alignnone" width="2066"] Princess 45 Flybridge Cruiser at Brighton Marina. Held in lifting slings during an Insurance Survey[/caption] After a few delays with the lifting hoist, this Princess 45 Flybridge Cruiser was safely lifted for the inspection of the underwater parts of the hull & propulsion equipment. Once it was found that all hull…
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Poorly Maintained Gas System on a Yacht

The vessel used to be fitted with a gas-powered cabin heater, but the heater unit had been removed at some time in the vessel's life. The gas supply pipe had been partially removed, but only up to the nearby isolation valve. The valve was then held in the closed position by a short length of steel wire.
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Survey of a Westerly Fulmar

The pre-purchase survey of this 1987 Westerly Fulmar 32 recently took place in Gosport, Hampshire, with the vessel ashore for the majority of the survey. The boat yard wouldn’t allow me to run the engine whilst the boat was in her cradle, so once the boat had been lifted into the water, I returned on…
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Check the bow roller for cracks

[caption id="attachment_416" align="alignnone" width="722"] Cracks in Forestay Chain Plate Fabrication[/caption] The damage of the bow roller shown in the photograph above was found during an Insurance Survey of a 1976 Westerly Berwick, a British built, masthead rigged sailing yacht with cast iron bilge keels. During the inspection of the rigging chain plates it was found that there were…
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Water Trap in Gas Locker Drain

Thankfully I don't come across this defect very often. It is probably something that many owners would never notice as everything looks as though it is in good order. Having said this, the hose in this photo of a gas locker drain should be of the reinforced type. Also, two hose clips should be used…
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