After writing our post on Suwendejen, I started having second thoughts about the boat. After being aboard her, I had crossed her off our list. However, while writing the post, I started to think a little more about the possibility of making an offer. In discussing the boat with Margaret while writing the post, I had come to realize just how much she liked the layout of the Valiant 40, and I was reminded of its strong reputation. I also started to reassess the condition of the boat, realizing that most of what we focused on in the review was relatively superficial.
It turned out that independently Margaret was having similar thoughts. So, we started considering what further information we would like to know in order to put an informed offer in on the boat (not that we were necessarily convinced we were actually going to put an offer on Suwendejen at this point). Our biggest concern about the boat was something that Margaret only briefly touched on in our post, that she had suffered some structural damage to her cabintop and/or deck, most likely during the hurricane that resulted in the replacement of her mast. We suspected the structural damage because – as Margaret wrote – the salon table would not fully fold into place. In addition, it was difficult to close the doors to the head and forward cabin, which can be another sign that there was flexing of the decks.
To try to get a better understanding of what was going on with the table and doors without hiring a surveyor ourselves, we decided to email the broker with a few questions. In particular, we wanted to learn more about the hurricane damage to the boat, when exactly the current owner had purchased her, and what work he had completed. We also asked the broker whether there was a relatively recent survey – dating at least from the hurricane damage in 2005 – that the owner would be willing to share with us.
Somewhat surprisingly, the broker responded to our email rather quickly. She said she would contact the owner about our questions, but thought our concerns about structural damage were unfounded. She explained that she had been able to put the table down without a problem in the past and guessed that our difficulties arose from swelling of the wood in the humidity. Incidentally, she had given a similar explanation of why the doors were not properly closing when we were aboard. Her unsubstantiated and fairly ridiculous explanation made us more skeptical, rather than allaying our concerns.
A couple days later the broker emailed us with some information from the current owner. Apparently another boat had fallen over on Suwendejen in the yard during the hurricane in 2005, resulting in the damage to the mast and boom, but little else. I guess it is possible, but it seems extremely unlikely that another boat fell over on her with enough force to break the spars without doing any substantial damage to the rest of the boat. The broker’s email also included the information – previously unknown to us – that the previous owner had also ran aground, damaging the rudder, which was not fixed until after the current owner purchased the vessel. In addition to some other minor information, she also said that there was, unfortunately, no survey to share with us but that the current owner would be happy to talk about her if we would like to contact him.
Instead of putting our concerns to rest, the exchange raised more questions for us. Unsurprisingly, the broker’s email ended – once again – any thoughts we had about making an offer on this Valiant 40.