October 4, 2013.
Tom was an old guy down the dock. He was like 56 or something, maybe a little older, okay, maybe 15 or 20 years older but anyway, one morning he didn't make it topsides. He passed peacefully in the night in the aft cabin of his Hunter 45.
Tom was living alone and several months passed before somebody came to lay claim to the Hunter. By the time the family showed up to claim the boat it seemed that close to a year had passed and the marina owner was sitting there with a year of back slip fees waiting to be paid.
During the back and forth between the parties the boat partially sank. It went bow down a foot but was pumped out and floats just fine today. The family looted the boat for anything of value and left the boat to sit. The marina owner did what ever it is that they do to take possession of the boat. He now owns it free and clear, wants to sell it and called me about seeing whether or not the Hunter would run.
I went over to check the boat out and was surprised at what I found. It's powered by a 75 horsepower Yanmar. There’s some really bad corrosion on the injectors and the turbo is a solid wad of rust but other than that it wasn't as bad as I expected. Its got an 8KW Kohler generator that was in decent shape with only 289 hours showing on the clock. It looks as if the high water never got as high as either the engine or generator.
The salon floor will need to be completely refinished as the water seems to have made it up to the forward floorboards. The house bank lived under the salon floor and thats where it died when the water rose above it. All the moisture being in the boat has really compromised everything in the electrical system and grew some ferocious mildew throughout.
All of the wiring below the floors will have to be replaced as corrosion is just rampant. I opened up the electrical panel and found rust on the screw heads of the entire negative 12 volt bus that was so bad I couldn't tell if the screws were Philips or slotted. The starting battery for the engine and generator lives high and dry behind the electrical panel. Unfortunately it looks as if it had frozen and split as the battery box was full of acid.
SO the new owner wants to sell the boat and wants to know what runs and what doesn't. He doesn't want to invest any money other than me doing the minimum necessary to try and get the engine and genset running. Tom moved on to the ethereal realm of the eternal beam reach 3 years ago and I don't think he ever left the dock in the 2 preceding years. Five years without being run is a long time for any engine. Throw in excessive corrosion and the prospects look dim.
I brought a new starting battery and a few gallons of diesel down to the boat to see whats what. I installed the new starting battery and gave the generator a flick of the switch just to see if it would even spin. There is voltage at the starter but the solenoid doesn't move at all, just a muted buzz. Attempting to introduce an artificial harmonic vibration (beating it) didn't help. The main engine spins over by hand but it doesn't crank over either.
So it looks as if its going to be listed with a non running engine and generator. She's going to need a complete rewiring and some cosmetics below. The refrigeration and air conditioners are rusted wads that still work but who can say for how long. The chartplotter boots up but doesn't see its antenna, the radar can't find its radome and about a quarter of the breakers in the panel don't work. On the bright side though, for an unloved boat the topsides are in remarkably good shape.
I looked at comparable boats (in decent condition) on yachtworld and they all seem to be between 100K and 160K. The owner doesn't want to invest in starters and other assorted parts that might get the Hunter to fire up. It looks as if hes going to be listing her as unrunning. If she goes for 60K it could be a fabulous deal for a dreamer with the soul of a gambler or possible grounds for divorce. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.