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  • Writer's pictureMoppa

The trouble with tribbles ( Insurance Woes)

Insurance Woes

Today I am going to discuss my experience dealing with the insurance companies.

As you are, we recently purchased our next yacht (actually we are still buying it and yes, it is taking longer than it should all in all its because of what I now call the "Insurance shuffle")

Ok viewers, I am going to use inappropriate language in this article ( explicit content warning) so stop reading now if you're sensitive. But first, some context as mentioned in previous posts because of the COVID we had to break one of my immutable rules, and we purchased a boat without inspecting it.

In my defence, I am familiar with this brand of the boat. I have examined others, so had a good understanding and knowledge of the things I wanted my surveyor to look for and pay particular attention to.

As stated, the survey came back, and all in all, it was positive and basically said that this brand of boat is well known for its excellent design and build quality.

The survey went on to say "although it needed some minor maintenance work it was a perfect example of the model, and that there was no reason that it couldn't continue to give years of service doing what it was designed to do whether coastal sailing or crossing oceans".The surveyor stated that "this boat was a textbook example of a very well designed boat built by a quality professional boat builder that knew what they were doing". He went on to say," The vessel could be described as over-engineered and that you could run her aground on a beach and only the beach would be damaged"… anyway you get my drift.

Now the four main things that he raised that needed addressing I am quoting the surveyor in order of importance are:

1. "The seacocks are in various condition, and they should be replaced on an as needs basis as soon as was practicable". The surveyors, the main concern was the condition of a few of the hose clips needed replacing. (note they were double clipped, and I intended on returning any dodgy ones before her first sail) and in terms of the seacocks, I plan to replace not only the seacocks but all hoses and plumbing in the boat with modern composite fittings including the skin fittings which were reported as in good condition.

2. The Chainplates are now due for removal and resealing, which is necessary for boats of this style and age that have fully lined interiors. ( this clearly is referring to water egress possibly damaging the liner and nothing to do with the integrity of the plates I know of new boats that leak via Chain-plates due to poor sealing having said that there are no watermarks or evidence of water egress via the chainplates or chainplate seals (#note the boat had its mast removed checked and re- stepped and standing rigging replaced 12 months ago)

3. The electrics in terms of navigation and instruments are all in working order however older models, and the wiring is original with the original management board all still working and in good condition, however, could be replaced on as needs basis

4. There is a fair amount of accumulated dust and debris in the locker bases and bilge area which should be removed to prevent blocking the bilge pumps and limber hole.

5. Tidy up hose clamp mount on bow light. This is for the deck/ anchor wash, and the hose mount is broken, its an easy fix but not relevant as to the safety of the vessel or the integrity of the boat

6. The plumbing is original, and the hoses have hardened, and hose clips rusted, these should be monitored and/or replaced as required. This is correct; however, we are talking about internal plumbing here nothing to do with the integrity of the vessel in terms of being seaworthy and watertight.

7. Plumbing system, deck wash/shower needs to be replaced ( I have no idea why a broken deck shower fitting would be critical to insurance.

8. So all in all 6 insurance companies were approached by my broker, two refused to insure due to the age of the boat ( keeping in mind that we are talking about an over-engineered bluewater boat that's has been serviced and looked after, and I am refitting her above and below the waterline over the next 12 months. (in fact, I bit the bullet and all the skin fittings and seacocks are being replaced with Marelon composites as I write this) let us talk about the boat age notwithstanding that all the standing and soft rigging was replaced 18 months ago, this boat is a hand laid up the vessel that will outlast many of today's modern production boats ( now I am not bagging out modern production boats I don't want to have that shit fight, in my opinion there is nothing wrong with owning a current production boat, in fact, I like them and they suit a purpose and if I sailed in less remote areas like the med or Caribbean I'd prefer one if only for the space ease of getting parts and the and speed). Still, I am saying that if I run aground, hit a sunfish or anything else or get caught in a severe storm I will lay my money on the fact that my 30 years old purposed designed blue water hand-laid production boat has more chance of surviving or being less damaged than many of today's vacuum bagged, lightweight, built to a price, off the shelf brands of production boats with exposed spade rudders and bolted on keels.

· So two refused due to the age of the boat

· Two refused to insure due to both the age of the boat and her home port (yes we live in cyclone territory although in a marina berth)

· One said they would insure but wanted 5k a year for a boat insured for 100 k with a 2k excess

· One agreed they would guarantee for 2k with 1k excess if I get all 7 items on the survey repaired first (I am still struggling to understand the deck wash)


· 1, agreed to insure for 2 k with a 1 k excess as she was ( naturally I went with this one after I checked their credentials)

Now, this is the disappointing thing about this insurance journey, these insurance companies are supposed to be Marine specialists, but to me, it seems like most just did the old tick the check box without understanding boats in general and made calls that just simply fit within the boxes no matter how misguided the boxes or selection criteria are.

Don't misunderstand me the boat does need some work particularly the replacement of several seacocks, however other reasons are, just plain silly, one wanted the deck shower replaced why I have no idea its certainly not a critical component. I was going to replace the seacocks and thru-holes. I asked for a month to organise this( which is a challenge with the COVID situation. Unfortunately, this was denied. ( I have since replaced all seacocks and thru-holes under the waterline with Marelon components.

Anyway here is the list of insurance companies and their reasoning

Insurer Premium

CGU Decline to Quote Vessel Age, Value and Location

Club Marine Multiple Repairs Requested

Nautilus $ 5,351.52

New Wae $ 2,052.16

QBE Decline to Quote Vessel Location and age

Trident Decline to Quote Mooring Location

I don't actually have a problem with Club Marine requesting multiple repairs and as I have already stated I agreed with the seacocks needing replacement however some of the other reasons seem well silly such as removal of all dust and dirt from the bilge and they also wanted the chainplates resealed which I also don't have a problem with as two are leaking however again this is not going to sink the boat it's not critical to the vessel's seaworthiness ( I know of near new boats that have leaky chainplates)m

Anyway, I have gone with New Wave marine. However, some of their caveats are eye-opening such as not covering the engine for flooding which I assume was because of the seacocks, it will be interesting to see if they change this now the seacocks and associated hoses have all been replace with the latest and best technology.

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