The Table of Issues

Wanderlust cruises the River Rhone.

For most readers this entry will certainly rank as one of the driest and least interesting posts on Barge Wanderlust. Indeed, for regular readers looking to get a glimpse of Wanderlust’s travels, I’d suggest you that you skip on to the next entry. Then again, if you suffer from insomnia, this might well be your cure.

However, if you are looking to learn more about what happened behind the scenes during our dispute with the builder, read on. It is my hope that information provided on the blog will be of value as a reference for others facing similar challenges. With this entry I’ve included Table of Issues that served as the basis of our dispute with the builder. It shows for the first time, in one document, the full range of Wanderlust’s issues that were the subject of the dispute.

Wanderlust in the builder’s workshop

There are numerous items on the list that we would have ignored and lived with. However, when the builder chose to involve lawyers, we felt we needed to put every issue on the table, both major and minor. There seemed little point in leaving anything on the cutting room floor.

The Table of Issues was an evolving document. Issues were added as they became apparent. At the same time several issues were dropped when the problem could not be reproduced for a surveyor, an innocuous cause for the observed problem was discovered, or the issue was too small for the effort involved in defending it in the dispute. There are several other significant and very real issues that were not included due to the time and expense needed to add them. Indeed several additional significant issues were discovered as the dispute was ending.

Our goal in generating this list was to include only demonstrable and defensible issues. In our eyes doing any less than risked the credibility of the overall claim.

Pictures from early on present showed that the tanks were not the size contracted.

With list came reams of supporting information. The computer folder that holds the dispute documentation holds 3,611 documents in 92 GB of data. Pictures, emails, and background information were assembled for each issue. Our memories are not perfect and many times we had to revise or reject issues because the underlying facts were not as we remembered. The Table represents what is left. It took an enormous effort to assemble, several months worth of work.

This is not a full list of all of the problems Wanderlust has experienced. It glosses over major issues like an unglued black water pipe that separated pouring sewage into the bilge. Or the six times that radiator leaks were fixed, including the failure of a brazed joint behind the walls. These were repaired, mostly, at the builder’s expense. Other issues weren’t. The air conditioner and its control units have been pretty much completely replaced. Faulty cabling for the TV’s installed by the builder took the best part of a year to resolve. The fuel and water tank senders have been replaced five times and at the time of this writing are still giving problems. It’s a long list that goes on and on.

Under construction:  The shiny steel on the hull strakes did not hold paint.

You expect to have some problems on boats. They are complicated beasts. But when you overlay the lack of warranty service on the top of equipment manufacturing defects, design flaws, faulty construction, and problems caused by ill-considered cost cutting maneuvers it all becomes overwhelming.

It is easy to imagine that Wanderlust’s problems are common to other boats built by the builder but it is dangerous and unfair to make that assumption.

All told the cost estimate for the remedial works needed to remedy all of the problems on the Table of Issues came to over £186,000. This total value came from four sources: The surveyor’s estimates, quotes from boat yards, receipts for work actually done, and to a small extent, conservative personal estimates. This figure did not include the cost for surveyors and a solicitor, which in and of itself exceeded £45,000. Nor did it include the considerable costs for our loss of use. In practice we found that many of the surveyor’s estimates were on the low end of the actual costs.

I apologize for the low level of editing of the Table; this was very much a working and evolving document. The Table was not written with style in mind.

Note that though the pictures present a horror show of problems, most of the issues have been resolved after considerable time, money, and effort.  Wanderlust is not now the collection of problems she once was.  Thankfully.

For reference Wanderlust was launched on September 12, 2013. She remained in the UK for approximately one year after launch in part to let her problems be more easily resolved.

With no further adieu, the Table of Issues…

The deck paint, applied over improperly prepared Oyster White over spray, started to peel soon after launch.

Issue 1

Complaint: Side deck (gunwale) paint, over painted on the shiny Oyster White paint, is peeling off. Side deck paint has places where the topcoat is not adhering to the primer; these places also show rust.

Location: Outside

Date first reported: 30/6/14

Description: Gray paint on side decks was painted over shiny Oyster White and does not adhere. Pictures during the build show the cabside paint over spray. The data sheet from Awlgrip states, “”AWLCRAFT 2000 topcoats which have been allowed to cure more than 24 hours must be sanded before recoating””. The date stamps on the pictures show that the gray paint applied over a week after the Oyster White over spray. It is obvious from the paint being revealed when the gray paint has lifted that no sanding of the Oyster White paint was done. The Light Green hull paint was also oversprayed onto the side deck.   The date stamps on the pictures also indicate that more than 24 hours passed between the Light Green cabside painting and the deck painting. The paint in these areas is at risk for peeling also due to the failure to follow the manufacturers application instructions. The gunwale decks need to be taken back to metal and repainted properly.

Note: This issue was discussed in more detail in a prior blog entry. The external paint is by far the biggest issue financially in the dispute.

Paint adhesion at the interface of the stainless deck fittings and the boat’s mild steel was broadly problematic.

Issue 2

Complaint: Paint at interface between the Light Green paint and the stainless deck fittings is flaking off with some rust.

Location: Outside

Date first reported: 3/10/13 (in a picture)

Description: Paint peeling and rusting at the junction with stainless fittings, bollards and railings. The same thing does not occur on other boats produced by the builder that we have seen. A worker who did the railing repair told us that the wrong primer was used however this may have been incorrect. We believe that the problem is a consequence of improper preparation or from the application of the incorrect shop primer. The welds at the stainless railing started rusting. These were scraped and primed by the builder. This repair work later failed.

Note: This issue was discussed in more detail in a prior blog entry. It has been noted by the experts that have examined this problem that there is very little evidence that efforts were taken to properly roughen the interface areas between the stainless and mild steel on the boat prior to the coating application. Repairs of the painted areas are complicated by the need to match both the sheen and the tint of the paint.

Issue 3

Complaint: Bubbling and rusting on Light Green paint

Location: Outside

Reported in September of 2016

Description: There are rust spots, possibly from trapped swarf, emerging from the paint on the rear port side gunwale. Rust is also appearing from the upper edge of most of the side deck scupper drains, most likely from improper surface preparation. Paint is bubbling up is small patch above the rubbing strake near the port side wheelhouse door.


We attempted to clean up the swarf. The blue tape shows all of the places that we treated in one go around.

Issue 4

Complaint: Swarf and swarf caught between the primer and the paint on the top deck is rusting through.

Location: Outside

Date first reported: 4/10/13

Description: Rust spots from swarf were reported early on. The builder attributed them to work done on the boat after the problem was reported. It turns out that some of these metal fragments have been trapped between the primer and paint. They are now emerging as rust spots. In the last 7 months we’ve cleaned and primed around 200 of this fragments and many more remain.

Note: This issue was discussed in more detail in a prior blog entry.

Issue 5

Complaint: Incompletely finished paint repair near kitchen extractor vent replacement

Location: Outside

Date reported: 15/6/14

Description: We spent considerable effort sourcing a higher capacity extractor fan for Wanderlust’s cooker. After Wanderlust was launched we discovered that the extractor had been mounted to a smaller diameter deck vent than specified by the manufacturer. Eventually the builder replaced this vent with a correctly sized vent. In the process, for unknown reasons, the paint in the area was damaged. The builder’s repair of the paint was improper and unsightly.

Note: This issue was discussed in more detail in a prior blog entry.

In places the deck paint lift off revealing the steel.

Issue 6

Complaint: The top paint is coming off of the primer on the starboard side near Webasto cover and in several additional locations. In most places the paint has peeled up from the primer. In one location, the site of a weld, the paint has peeled to the steel.

Location: Outside

The poor appearance of the deck was first reported within a month of launch. The peeling paint was reported in September of 2016.

Description: Several sections of deck paint are coming off of the primer. There is evidence of an underlying rust issue. The paint seems very thin. The top deck paint is splotchy; in some places the gray from the primer is clearly visible. Where the paint and primer have both peeled up it can clearly be seen that the surface was not properly prepared. The deck paint was reported as looking bad within two months of launch.

Note: This issue was discussed in more detail in a prior blog entry. The problem worsened significantly after the pictures shown in the entry were taken.

Issue 7

Complaint: Oyster white: Rust is coming from two hinges for the wheelhouse

Location: Outside

Reported in September of 2016

Description: Something beneath two of the hinges is rusting. Also the paint is bubbling up near the port side door, on the top just forward of the door. Paint at the bottom of the doors is rusting.

Note: Rust under the hinges is a very minor issue. The rust at the base of the doors is much concerning and difficult to resolve.

Issue 8

Complaint: Oyster white paint under the D bar is rusting through at several locations.

Location: Outside

Reported in September of 2016

Description: Poorly finished welds were not fully treated and are now rusting through.

Issue 9

Complaint: Support struts to front wheelhouse window rusting

Location: Outside

Reported in September of 2016

Description: The support strut manufacturer has stated that the builder used the improper type of strut for the wheelhouse window. The less expensive strut used is rusting.

Issue 10

Complaint: The hatch covers for the port side gas locker, starboard side fuel locker, and rear deck anchor locker all stick when the temperature is warm.

Location: Outside

Reported in 2014

Description: The gap between the hatch and the opening is too small to allow for expansion on the locker covers and they stick tightly when warm since launch. This causes the paint to chip around the edges. The other barges built by the builder have wider gaps and do not stick.

Issue 11

Complaint: Rear deck hinges are too small for the weight of the cover and are rusting.

Location: Outside

Reported before 8/6/2014

Description: The hinges for the rear deck locker cover are too small to support the weight. They are bending. Rust at the hinges was reported early on and was never repaired.

The builder’s surveyor proposed adding ballast at the bow to correct the drainage in the propane locker. The problem is that the water collects at the bow end of the locker. More ballast would make the problem worse, not better.

Issue 12

Complaint: Propane gas locker and rear anchor locker do not drain to the water.

Location: Outside

Date reported: 11/9/14

Description: Water flows away from the drain hole in the rear anchor locker. With the freshwater near full, its usual state, the propane locker does not drain. Water retained in these lockers causes rusting of any steel object stored inside.

Blowback from the filling port at the right goes through the drain to the water shown with the pencil.

Issue 13

Complaint: Fuel filling point allows diesel into water.

Location: Outside

Date reported: 23/9/2015

Description: This issue, combined with blowback, makes it very difficult if not impossible to fill out tanks without violating environmental regulations. The Wanderlust’s manual states, “Fuel should not be allowed to spill overboard” but the drain in the fuel locker is two inches from the fueling port. The location of the drain makes spilling fuel overboard inevitable, even without the blowback, exposing us to substantial penalties and fines for damaging the environment. This arrangement is not fit for its purpose. The fuel tight integrity of the locker needs to be checked.

Note: This very serious issue has been discussed in more detail in a prior entry.

Blowback! The drain to the water is to the immediate left of the nozzle.

Issue 14

Complaint: Fuel blowback on filling the red and white diesel tanks

Location: Outside

Date reported: 28/8/14

Description: Blowback has occurred every time the tanks have been filled. The first time the tanks were filled was in August of 2014 and we were in contact with the builder at the time. Blowback was since observed while filling at a measured rate of 23L/min with the red tank calculated at 58% full. Fuel can be seen coming from the tank vents indicating that the vent lines fill with fuel rendering them ineffective. Fuel is spilt adjacent to a drain that allows fuel to reach the river/canal. The vent lines are mounted horizontally and on the side of the tank. Based on the slope of the floor in the galley, an indication of the trim of the boat, there is an estimated 27 mm drop from the vent pipe attachment point to the tank to the 90-degree bend to the fuel locker vent. The fueling at 23 L/min was monitored with both the fresh and black water tanks near full, a best-case scenario.

Note: This very serious issue has been discussed in more detail in a prior entry.

Our surveyors believe that the varnish applied was too thin in this area.

Issue 15

Complaint: Heavy fading of internal wheelhouse varnish at the rounded section near the stairs.

Location: Inside wheelhouse

Reported in September of 2016

Description: Varnish is fading to nearly bare wood on the curved section of woodwork at the top of the stairs. This place is protected from wear and sunlight. It is the only place where fading this significant has occurred clearly suggesting that there was an error made during the varnish application.

The internal seal on a wheelhouse window failed.

Issue 16

Complaint: Double paned window has lost its seal

Location: Inside wheelhouse

Reported in September of 2016

Description: One window fogs internally. These windows have a five-year warranty.

Note: One of the many adverse consequences of the legal dispute is that simple requests, like our request here to have an equipment manufacturers warranty honored, were held until the end of the dispute. We feel that a builder working in good faith should have honored third party warranty issues like this when they were established and then removed them from the dispute, saving costs and aggravation for both parties.

Issue 17

Complaint: Water staining at the base of both doors, indicative of water incursions likely from rain.

Location: Inside wheelhouse

Description: The base of both doors shows signs of water leaks. The subfloor is wet on the starboard side. The starboard side woodwork, in front of the wheelhouse door, is separating from the wheelhouse metalwork possibly allow water ingress.

Note: We later learned that the cut surface of the steel at the base of the doors does not hold primer, thus causing the mastic to separate and allowing water in.

Issue 18

Complaint: Details of this issue have been redacted as it represents a common security concern to nearly all owners of the builder’s barges. We sought to be reimbursed for our cost, £68.50, to make the needed change.

Note: We feel that the builder should be proactively contacting other owners to make sure that they make the same changes we made. To our knowledge this has not happened.

Issue 19

Complaint: Port side engine room water coming in

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 2/2/16

Description: Water is coming into the engine compartment from the Vetus vent, a damaged gray water pipe, and a leak near the wheelhouse. The Vetus vent leak seems to be intermittent. Sources of the water were verified with [name of service technician redacted]. The gray water-plumbing leak occurred because the installation created a wear point.

Note: Water coming into the engine room from many directions has been an ongoing and persist problem.

Issue 20

 Issue removed.

Note: We removed this issue, another source of water in the engine compartment, from the list because as it could not be clearly established that it was not solely from condensation. It turned out that there were at least two additional water leaks in this area that we did not identify before the dispute ended.

Issue 21

Complaint: Generator AC Sync difficult to acquire

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 9/30/13

Description: AC Sync frequently fails on generator start-up unless either the main or the galley rings are turned off at the consumer unit. After spending a day on Wanderlust, Whisper Power’s head of service attributed this problem a fault on board.

Whisper Power has said previously that there is an “onboard faulty consumer or wiring connection” problem. The builder has stated, “Whisper power are convinced that the issue lies in one of your appliances”” and the problems as “appliances where manufacturers are using more and more capacitors in the build”. The last statement is a clear admission from Whisper Power that their equipment is not fit for the applications that they are selling it for. Further there is no prohibition for loads in the product promotional information. Additionally, all of the consumer circuits and thus all of the equipment can be switched off individually and the problems remain indicating that Wanderlust’s problems are not a consequence of any piece of equipment on board. Galley ring trips frequently even with no load. There is a possible AVT issue.

Note: Generator faults have occurred since launch and have never been resolved. It is a very frustrating problem. The builder and Whisper Power have sought to assign this problem to “something onboard” despite the fact every possible electrical consumer appliance has been eliminated as being part of the problem.

The starter batteries failed spectacularly in rural Burgundy.

Issue 22

Complaint: Starter batteries going flat over the winter

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 31/1/14

Description: For unknown reasons the starter batteries have lost charge over the winter despite the boat being plugged in. This has happened 5 or 6 times. The builder is aware of the problem but has offered no suggestions nor did they test the system. The batteries expired on 22nd of July 2016.

Note: We sought here to merely recoup the costs of the replacement batteries, € 519.90 and not the costs spent to split the batteries in a manner that would minimize the problem in the future. Further exploration determined that this issue was caused by a combination of unswitched circuits with significant parasitic draws coming off of the starter batteries combined with an unlabeled circuit for the maintenance charger. The latter issue is covered for good reason by the Recreational Craft Directive.

Issue 23

Issue removed

Note: Experts advised us that the wear at the engine mounts was not particularly unusual and thus we removed this problem from the list.

Sooth coming through the exhaust lagging

Replacement fitting

Issue 24

Complaint: Engine pipe exhaust leaks in four places.

Location: Engine room

Reported: 29/7/2014

Repaired: June 2016, at our expense

Description: This problem was shown directly to the builder in July of 2014. When the exhaust pipe was disassembled in Auxerre the engineer found that the connectors were loose and a male fitting was defective. The defective connector did not allow a proper seal to form. Consequentially engine exhaust has been flowing into the engine compartment since soon after launch. Between the engine and the silencer there are four joints, three of which leaked. When shown the problem, the builder, who was on board in July of 2014, he said that the exhaust was not leaking, it was just the lagging burning off, the soot was expected, and if there was a problem it would go away when the engine was run-in. None of that was true.

Note: In this claim we sought to be reimbursed the £602.37 we spent having these repairs made in Auxerre.

Issue 25

Complaint: Freshwater accumulator tank leaked and had to be replaced.

Location: Engine room

Reported: 12/9/15

Description: The accumulator tank failed with a leak at the valve.

Note: The tank, which requires occasional adjustment, is in a difficult access place. We spent £241.00 to have the tank replaced. According to the manufacturer, accumulator tank failures are not unheard of, though the builder claimed that this was the first one he knew of.

Issue 26

Complaint: Wanderlust’s steering gear seized up after the Channel crossing

Location: Engine room

Date reported: 8/9/14

Description: The design of the steering gear leads to freezing of the steering after a saltwater crossing. This has happened on other barges built by the builder. The builder has stated in an email that he believes that the problem comes from the corroded steerer shaft getting pushed up into the Oilite bearing after crossing by ground or something similar. Like us, none of the owners believe that they were grounded in the short time after the crossing. The builder has tried to fix this problem by installing a grease fitting. In our case this does not work and possibly even makes the problem worse. We were able to free up the steering with WD-40 and some whacks with a hammer but we should not have to do that. It is our opinion there is a design flaw and that there are long term consequences of this fault as the steering is expected to seize on all future saltwater crossings. It needs to be fixed so that Wanderlust is fit for coastal cruising. Steering tightens up on sitting in freshwater when the boat sits unused for a week or so.

Note: We understand that the builder has since changed the design of the steerer bearing.

Issue 27

Complaint: Pumps and fridges not fused properly

Location: Engine room and elsewhere

Date first reported: 30/9/2015

Description: Wanderlust was delivered without the fuses specified by the OEMs in their manuals. In late 2014, a gray water pump seized and overheated to the edge of starting fire. Afterwards, without telling us, the builder added a fuse in front of the gray water pump when they were on board in December of 2014. From his email the builder, despite what the equipment manuals and the Recreational Craft Directive state, does not believe that the fuses are necessary as the pumps have thermal protection circuitry. The builder’s surveyor later stated that this was wrong: Domestic water pumps often do not have thermal protection.

Note: During the RCD survey, numerous unfused and incorrectly fused circuits were noted.

The Vetus fuel filters mounted on the engine compartment bulkhead, with the boiler filter at the top.

Issue 28

Complaint: Fuel filters for boiler are mounted too high and draw in air when replaced.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 30/9/2015

Description: Changing the fuel filter results in a difficult to resolve air lock. The boiler’s installation manual indicates that this filter should be mounted low. This did not happen.

Note: This problem presents a continual concern on the changing of filters and makes the diagnosis of boiler issues complicated. It has also been noted that the tubing wall size of the fuel lines used by the builder are thinner than recommended by the boiler’s manufacturer. This is thought to contribute to the boiler’s fuel air lock problems. We understand this to be a common issue.

Issue 29

Complaint: Diesel leak in engine room

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 04/14/14

Description: Very small leak that is possibly only active when the white diesel tank is near full.

Note: During the repair process we noted that there was a substantial leak, 1 to 2 L/day, in the white diesel tank’s fuel fill pipe in addition to this leak.

Measuring the depth of the generator raw water outlet

Issue 30

Complaint: Generator raw water outlet mounted too far below the water surface and can clog easily. Generator raw water inlet is not single purpose as specified by the manufacturer. Generator raw water supply is insufficient and prone to clogging leading to overheating.

Location: Engine room

First reported before 23/10/14

Description: Water comes out of the generator exhaust pipe when debris enters the cooling water outlet port and creates a clog. This happens periodically. The Whisper Power manual clearly specifies that this port should be less than 100 mm deep. Wanderlust’s generator raw water fitting is more than 400 mm below the surface of the water. It is difficult to reach to clear the clog because of the depth. Steam has been seen in the exhaust and overheating has been observed causing generator shut downs. The manufacturer’s installation instructions specify that the top of the raw water inlet sieve is 2 inches above the waterline. With the freshwater tank near 1/3, the top of the sieve is at the waterline. This creates the possibility that debris floating in the chamber can enter the generator’s heat exchanger. This has since been adjusted. The suction line has a sharp 90-degree bend, counter to Whisper Power’s recommendation at the seacock fitting. Whisper Power has told the builder that the inlet water line needs to be on a dedicated hull fitting which it is not   As a consequence, the generator raw water system has clogged frequently in only 220 hours of use. As measured, the raw water supply is 8L/min when the air conditioner is being used. This is less than the 9 to 15 L/min minimum specified by Whisper Power. Whisper Power states that kinked hoses, undersized pipes or connections are “the main cause for overheating an engine.”

Issue 31

Complaint: The generator has red antifreeze under it.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: February 2016

This is probably from sloppiness during the build as the generator is the only piece of equipment that had red antifreeze. There seems to be a leak on the coolant overflow tube.

Note: We now believe that the liquid was most likely red diesel, possibly from spills during the installation.

Central heating antifreeze protects to -4 C after being “corrected” by the builder. The concentration from launch showed-2 C.

Issue 32

Complaint: Insufficient antifreeze in the central heating system

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 19/11/14

Description: Specific gravity measurements in Auxerre showed that a 20:1 mixture of water to glycol was used in the central heating system protecting to only -2C despite the claims in Wanderlust’s boat manual of a 3:1 mixture. The builder claims to have used 10L of “sentinel x500 antifreeze.” Sentinel antifreeze is said by the manufacturer to be above 50% v/v water to propylene glycol. The volume of the system measured in Auxerre as 55L; this should have provided a 10:1 water to glycol ratio at launch. Note that that the data sheets for sentinel x500 antifreeze state that it is a “clear colourless liquid”. The antifreeze that leaked into Wanderlust’s bilge from multiple sources is yellow. Having heard from another owner of a barge built by the builder that their barge had been shorted on antifreeze we specifically requested antifreeze is added to the central heating system before signing the build contract. The builder latter added antifreeze in December of 2014 but this only brought the antifreeze level to -4 C (10:1). It was a considerable expense (634.50 EUR) to drain out the coolant out of a barge and to refill it with coolant with the proper concentration.

Engine antifreeze protects to only -6 C after being adjusted by the builder. It protected to -4 C at launch.

Issue 33

Complaint: Insufficient antifreeze was added to the engine cooling system.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 19/11/14

Description: A >10:1 mixture of water to glycol was used in the engine cooling system, determined by specific gravity, protecting to only -4C despite the claims in the boat manual of a 3:1 mixture. The brochure specification current during our build states, “The system is fully protected against frost damage”. Further, we specifically requested antifreeze in the pre-contract signing negotiations. The builder stated that 20 liters of concentrated Autochem antifreeze was used. The boat yard later added 150 L of coolant to the cooling system demonstrating the system volume. The Autochem antifreeze claimed to be used by the builder is stated by the manufacturer to be a 1:1 mixture of glycol to water. By their own admission, the builder used 10 L of glycol in a 150 L system, at best a 14:1 mixture. The builder stated that they put 20 L of antifreeze into an 80 L system. If the cooling system had been 80 L, a 7:1 water to glycol ratio would have resulted, again well below the claimed 3:1 mixture. Additionally the antifreeze the builder claimed to use is blue. The antifreeze actually in Wanderlust at launch was yellow. Because of concerns that we raised by others we specifically requested antifreeze be added before signing the build contract. In December of 2014 the builder reluctantly added more antifreeze to the system. Specific gravity testing by the boat yard showed that protection was to -6 C, approximately a 7:1 ratio. The boat yard subsequently replaced the antifreeze at a considerable cost (634.50 EUR).

Note: We sought here to recoup our costs to bring the antifreeze up to the proper concentration.

Issue 34

Issue removed

Measuring the freeboard at the weedhatch

Issue 35

Complaint: Weed hatch is not properly configured and freeboard above weed hatch does not meet specifications.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 27/10/14

Description: Per the email on the 27th of October 2014 Wanderlust’s weedhatch, with the black and water tanks empty, is unlikely to have the 150 mm minimum freeboard specified by the regulations. Measured with the water tank 1/4 full, the black tank 1 tick over 1/4, the red tank at 1/3, and a 83 hours from the white tank at ca. 3.2L/hr, the freeboard was measured at 145 mm at the stern/starboard corner. There have been issues with this hatch overflowing during the Channel crossing and when we’ve traveled up big rivers. According to the “Delivery checks” provided by the builder, the freeboard to the weedhatch was measured at 191 mm which now seems unlikely with a full freshwater tank, an empty black tank, the fuel tanks at their fullest point, and a considerable amount of ballast was added to the forward bilge. A RCD surveyor reported, “The residual freeboard within the weed hatch measured 130mm only.”

Note: We first discovered the severity of this problem when the weedhatch overflowed triggering the engine compartment bilge pump as we were heading up the Seine for the first time.

Diapers helped absorb the diesel fuel in the bilge.

Issue 36

Complaint: Diesel leak into the starboard side of the bilge just forward of the engine compartment firewall

Location: Guestroom

Date first reported: April 2015

Description: Diesel detected on the starboard side of the white fuel tank just in front of the engine room firewall. As of July 2016 the diesel fuel has made its way to the “wine cellar” in the saloon. Section 4 of ISO 10088:2001 stipulates that the fuel system must be designed to withstand the forces that occur under normal operating conditions. Further ISO standards govern this issue.

Note: There is more information about this issue in this blog entry. Later, in 2018, we discovered that there are at least ten separate leaks from the white fuel system, including a cluster of four in a small area on the starboard stern side of the bilge.

Diesel in the bilge

Issue 37        

Complaint: Diesel leak into the port side keel box of the bilge in front of the engine room firewall.

Location: Guestroom closet

First reported in May of 2015

Description: Diesel collecting in the keel area below the guestroom closet as visible through the hole cut by the builder. The builder stated in May of 2015 that they would look in on this problem but they never did.

Note: Aside from the smell, this was out first visible sign of the diesel in the bilge that had undoubtedly been there since launch. It comes from a cluster of four small leaks. In many respects, the builder’s lack of interest in addressing this manufacturing defect was the beginning of the dispute.

Issue 38

Complaint: Water in the keel box

Location: Guestroom

Description: As of late June 2016 there now seems to be more water than diesel in the keel box indicating that water is once again entering the bilge from some unknown source.

Note: In 2018 we have identified that water and diesel flow from the engine compartment through the bulkhead to the guestroom bilge. This may or may not be the source of the water we are seeing in this case.

The persistent leak on the piping for the wheelhouse heater has been surprisingly difficult to resolve.

Issue 39

Complaint: Wheelhouse heater pipe leaks into the guestroom closet

Location: Guestroom closet

Date first reported: 4/6/14

Description: The blower’s plumbing leaks when the engine is running and up to temperature. There have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to fix this by the builder. The problem was first reported soon after launch and then later after the header tank was replaced.

Note: A small but annoying problem that has not proven to be simple to fix.

Issue 40

Complaint: Antifreeze leak to the bilge forward of the engine room firewall below the steps to the living quarters

Location: Guestroom closet

Date first reported: September 2016

Description: Antifreeze was noted to the starboard side of the diesel fuel tank by when our surveyor attended in April of 2016. Given its location most likely source for this leak is skin tank for engine cooling.

Note: As of 2018 there do appear to be small leaks in the skin tank welds, though it is possible that the majority of the antifreeze in the area has come from a leak from the nearby guestroom radiator.

The forward bilge pump, constrained by the hose and tight gap, rests around six inches above the bottom of the bilge. The bilge would be half full of water before it activates.

Issue 41

Complaint: Forward bilge pump is not properly installed.

Location: Guestroom closet

Date first reported: 26/4/2015

Description: The pump is located too high up to be useful. It is not switched or fused. The pump is wired with two rather than three conductors and does not have a manual switch.

Note: As of 2018 we have greater access to the area. The installed pump is too big to reach the bottom of the bilge, as the gap is too tight. In any event the hose that connects the pump to its hull fitting is too short to allow the pump to reach the bottom of the bilge. On the plus side, we did discover that the pump is fused. Unfortunately the fuse is behind a screwed in wall panel that requires dismantling of equipment for access. I’m pretty sure that this fuse location doesn’t meet the “readily accessible” requirement, i.e. access without the use of tools, in the RCDs. Five boating professionals spent time looking for this fuse. No one found it.

Issue 42

Complaint: Hole in guestroom closet floor

Location: Guestroom closet

Date first reported: 26/4/2015

Description: A hole was cut in the guestroom closet floor while we were off the boat. The builder said that they would make repairs but this has not happened.

Note: A minor cosmetic issue, but annoying in that this hole was cut without our authorization and then was less than responsive when we asked for repairs. (The builder entered the boat and cut the hole when we were not there.)

The gray pipe repair was made through a hole cut through the guestroom floor.

Issue 43

Complaint: Gray water pipe leak repair costs

Location: Guestroom

Date first reported: 18/9/15

This leak was a result of damage incurred by the builder’s contracted repair of a dry fit sewer pipe. The builder said that they would pay for this repair and did not.

Note: At issue is the £751.00 cost for the repair.

Issue 44

Complaint: Floor, wall, and trim damage that occurred during the under floor plumbing repairs.

Location: Guestroom

Date first reported: 28/4/14

The builder said that they would fix this damage, requested pictures, which were sent twice, but never did anything.

Note: The nature of minor problems like this is that they are trivial for the builder to repair; they have on hand all of the matching materials. But for others, it is very difficult to match. A small repair becomes a big problem.

Issue 45

Complaint: Subfloor damage from gray water pipe leak

Location: Guestroom

Date first reported: 10/2/15

Description: Pictures show moldy subfloor joist. The water from this leak made their way to the starboard side, almost certainly on bottom of the floor joist.

Issue 46

Complaint: Toilet drain was hose kinked on installation and clogged.

Location: Guestroom bath

Date first reported: September 2016

Description: When the toilet clogged in Strasbourg the service person found that drain had been incorrectly installed (the hose was kinked) making in prone to clogging.

Note: Here we were looking to be reimbursed for the €125.00 we spent on a repair of an incorrectly installed toilet.

Measuring the capacity of the water tank: The gauge reads 1866 liters. By the contract, the tank was supposed to be 2200 liters.

Issue 47

Complaint: Freshwater tank capacity less than in the contract.

Location: Bow

Date of first complaint: 6/8/14

Description: A Gardena meter that was subsequently calibrated measured the tank capacity. The tank capacity was measured three times at 1844, 1891, and 1873 liters for an average of 1869 L, 85% of the stated capacity in the executed build contract. ISO 8666:2002 gives an error range for volumes of +/- 5% and defines “tank capacity” as the net usable volume of the tank(s) for a craft at rest at the reference waterline. The tank capacity published in the contract is well out of this range.

Notes: Not stated but known to all parties was that the tank in the build specification was listed 2200 L. The size of the tanks was a specific issue when we were looking for barges. We were very disappointed to find that the tanks sizes had been generally misrepresented in the build contract and indeed, even after launch. This is an issue that we would not have included in the dispute if the builder were completely honest with us about the tank sizes during the build. If we had been told that there needed to be a compromise on the tank sizes from what was specified in the build contract, we would have not felt that we would have had legal recourse to complain later. Honesty is the best policy. We sought monetary compensation here, as it is too difficult to change the tank sizes now.

There have been issues from the beginning with the tank level senders and access to the wiring behind the wall. Critical wiring connects should be accessible without doing permanent damage.

Issue 48

Complaint: Wall in the pantry is damaged from the repairs to the electronics; essential access is not available to the back of the electronics without damage to the interior.

Location: Pantry

Date of first report: 30/9/13

Description: Access to the back of the gauges causes damage to the woodwork. The wall was damaged after the last access by the builder and never completely put right. The issue of having non-destructive repair access to the back of the gauges and electronics was brought up soon after the build but never adequately remedied. A sapele box was added for the satellite electronics but this was not painted as requested. We believe that the relay for the gray pump might well be housed behind this wall but we cannot check. It is essential that we can get access to all components onboard. The white diesel tank level sensor has failed because of what MCS believes is a wiring problem and repair access if difficult.

Note: After having to open this area up for access several times, the builder seems to have given it up and left the area in a state of partial repair.

Issue 49

Complaint: Diverter valve for the sink drain is difficult to turn.

Location: Galley

Date first reported: 16/9/13

Description: A representative of the builder came to the barge, turned the valve, but did not repair it. It is extremely difficult to turn rendering the valve unusable. This valve is required by the Recreational Craft Directives.

Note: A trivial problem reported soon after launch that could easily have been fixed at very little cost.

One of the numerous touch-ups done with the incorrect paint. The builder’s flat refusal to correct this obvious warranty problem was frustrating. It many ways this issue established that the builder had no intention of honoring his obligations under the build contract.

Issue 50

Complaint: The galley and saloon were painted with combination of flat and eggshell sheen paints.

Location: Galley and saloon

Date of first report: 5/9/14

Description: The incorrect sheen of paint was used in the saloon and galley. Dulux Jasmine White Matt was used when Dulux Jasmine White Eggshell was specified during the build. We questioned the paint within days after it was applied but were told that the sheen was correct. Later touch-ups were done when were off the barge with eggshell sheen paint. Now we have flat paint with 20 or so patches of eggshell. The identical problem happened in the master bathroom and it turned out that the paint supplier delivered the incorrect sheen of paint. The paint for the saloon and galley was in the same order. In the case of the bathroom, this problem was rectified. We notified the builder of this issue multiple times but never received a response. We even offered to let them correct the problem by over painting the eggshell patches with matt paint to make it easier. The paint has aged and this is no longer possible.

Note: This issue explains the builder’s attitude that ended this whole affair in a dispute. After our complaint we offered a substantial compromise to let them fix the interior paint to a standard that we did specify. We did this in the spirit of compromise. Rather than doing the minimum, the builder without providing any justification just chose to do nothing. They did not even bother responding to the complaint. Even then the choice was clear: We could escalate the issue to a legal dispute and risk losing support on the many pressing technical issues or we could bite our tongues.

The plaque at Wanderlust’s white fuel inspection port shows the putative capacity and the maximum pressure for a test.

Issue 51

Complaint: The red diesel tank inspection port has not been labeled as required by regulations.

Location: Galley

Date of first report: September 2016

Description: It is a requirement of the Recreational Craft Directives that fuel tanks be labeled.

Issue 52

Complaint: Granite side counter had a repaired crack as the boat was delivered.

Location: Galley

Date of first report: September 2016

We were never told about this crack or its repair during the build.

Issue 53

Complaint: Filtered water tap was not fitted as promised by the brochure.

Location: Galley

Date of first report: 9/13

Description: The builder’s current brochure, at the time of our signing of the build contract, states on page 6, “We fit the filtered water tap as standard as well as the integrated microwave” and on page 9, “A filtered water tap to the galley is standard.” Wanderlust did not receive a filtered water tap. The absence of the water filter and the reference to the brochure was mentioned to the builder around the time of launch and they had no interest in fitting one.

Note: This was one of numerous statements in the builder’s brochure that were misleading or inaccurate. We note that the current brochure makes far fewer specific marketing claims. A less specific brochure is likely a good decision as it minimizes misunderstandings.

Issue 54

Complaint: Gray tank vent water locks backing up tank odors into the master and guest bathrooms.

Location: Saloon

Date of first report: Early 2014

Description: This problem was discussed with one of the builder’s Directors, early in 2014 and reported in emails. The Director gave no indication that the problem could be mitigated. On further reflection, a solution seems to be straightforward.

Diesel in the wine cellar: The leaks were later to be found to the stern, eight meters or so away. Ultimately the diesel covered much of the bilge of the boat. The delay due to the legal dispute worsened this problem.

Issue 55

Complaint: Diesel is appearing in the starboard side of the wine cellar.

Location: Saloon

Date of the first report: 4/15

Description: See also Issue 36: The smell and a film of diesel fuel consistently came forward into the wine cellar with each flood from the damage gray water pipe. This suggests that there might be another leak on the starboard side of the red fuel tank. A substantial quantity of diesel made its way into the wine cellar in July 2016.

Note: Only in 2018 did we realize just how bad the leaks on this side of the bilge could be. The diesel comes from the white tank, with 11 separate sources on the starboard side. The biggest leaks are only active when the tank is near full. The large leak is from the fuel fill line in the engine compartment.

Issue 56

Complaint: A large gap remains in the wall behind the radiator after the central heating pipe repair.

Location: Saloon

Date of the first report: 26/2/16

Description: Our concerns about this hole were expressed at the time of the repair.

The usable volume of Wanderlust’s sewer waste tank, integral to the hull in the foreground, was substantially less than contracted.

Issue 57

Complaint: Black tank capacity is less than contracted.

Location: Saloon

Date of first complaint: 6/8/14

Description: The build contract states “650 L black tank with discharge pump and pump out facility – we will increase size.” The size increase was based on our request for a larger holding tank. The measured exterior dimensions of the tank, subtracting the steel thickness, are 1864 mm L x 1004 mm W x 292 mm H. The useful capacity of the tank can be calculated as 519 L. Given that the builder uses CAD tools to configure the tank, there is little chance that they did not realize that Wanderlust’s black tank would be significantly smaller than contracted. Concern over Wanderlust’s tank sizes was also expressed by email on 9/9/14. Wanderlust’s manual states that her black tank is 900 L, which is clearly not possible. (The contract specifies a 140L gray tank but the tank is 88L; this is inconsequential.) The smaller than promised black tank results in us having to pump out more frequently than we should have. It is a major inconvenience. ISO 8666:2002 gives an error range for volumes of +/- 5% and defines “tank capacity” as the net usable volume of the tank(s) for a craft at rest at the reference waterline. The published tank capacity is well out of this range.

Note: Prior to the build we had suggested increasing the size of the black tank at the expense of the size of the red diesel tank. It would have been easy to accomplish but the request was rejected.  At the time we were told that the 650 L tank contracted would be increased in size.  Instead, it was smaller than specified.

The first steps a doozie: Our only escape from the master cabin was via a deck hatch above the bed. We have met a barge owner who could make it out.

Issue 58

Complaint: Emergency escape hatch not labeled as required and no permanent means of escape (a ladder) was installed.

Location: Master bedroom           

Date of complaint: 3/10/13

Description: The Recreational Craft Directive requires the label for the emergency exit. As shipped, egress through the roof hatch in the master cabin is impossible for all but freaks of nature. ISO 9094-2 4.3 specifies a maximum of 1.2m from the highest foothold to the exit. In Wanderlust this distance is greater than 1.47 m with the highest step being from the compressible mattress of the bed.

Note: This problem was reported to the builder almost immediately after launch but was not corrected.

More than a meter of cracks have developed in the shower surround, a consequence of the use of cheaper 3 mm sheets of Hi-Macs material rather than the 6 mm minimum specified by the manufacture. This is an expensive problem to repair!

Issue 59

Complaint: Replacement drain tray for the shower installed over a wet and moldy subfloor. Shower surround has developed two cracks, one a meter-plus. The shower surround is improperly constructed using too thin material for the walls.

Location: Master Bathroom

Date of first report: 4/7/2014

Description: Over our objections the drain tray in the shower was mounted over the wet and moldy floor. Subsequently the grout for an adjacent tile cracked and the shower tray lifted requiring caulking. The surround has later developed a meter-long crack, indicating instability in the area. There is some possibility that the shower drain tray is leaking again. The subfloor to the shower has clearly been compromised and this had to be understood at the time of the repair. The builder fabricated the surround and tray from Hi-Macs. Hi-Macs is warranted for 15 years but the builder was not, at the time of Wanderlust’s construction, a Hi-Macs Quality Club member and thus the warranty is not valid. The builder stated that they were not trained for the use of Hi-Macs material. Hi-Macs’ manufacturer specifies 6 mm sheets for vertical surfaces; 3 mm sheets used in the walls of the surround that have cracked. The combination of under floor water damage and improper use of the material has likely led to its failure. There a smaller crack is near a shelf. Clearly the 3 mm thick material used on the walls is not strong enough to support anything. The entire surround and subfloor need to be reconstructed.

Note: This seems to be the consequence of an attempt to save a small sum of money by using 3 mm thick material rather than 6 mm. Unfortunately the repair is very expensive.

An otherwise trivial replacement of a lower quality shower valve was made difficult and expensive by the lack of access.

Issue 60

Complaint: Adequate access to the back of the shower mixer was not provided.

Location: Master Bathroom

Date of first report: September 2016

Description: The shower mixer failed with the internal mixer control seizing tight to the housing less than 2 years of use. As configured at launch it was not possible to remove the mixer without cutting a larger hole.

Issue 61

Complaint: Toilet seat will not stay vertical as the counter lip blocks it. The counter was incorrectly installed with a stone up stand.

Location: Master Bathroom

Date of first report: 19/9/13

Description: The bathroom counter was constructed in a manner that keeps the toilet seat cover from reaching a comfortable vertical position. More importantly the toilet seat will not stay up which creates obvious problems. Further, the counter was constructed with a stone up stand. We specified that this up stand be done with wood. The builder was notified of this issue immediately.

Note: A member of the staff told us that they had a good laugh at this complaint.  And laugh is all they did.  There was never an attempt to mitigate the problem.

Access being built into Wanderlust’s galley floor during remedial works in 2018: It was essential to find the sources of the fuel coming into the bilge and to allow access to the tank connections required by law in the RCD.

Issue 62

Complaint: Under floor inspection access requested through out the boat was not provided.

Location: General

Description: Before build contract was signed, having heard of under floor plumbing issues in the builder’s boats, we specifically requested inspection access to the bilge prior to signing a build contract. We were told that this was standard. When we received the boat there was one main access point. Per email communications it seem that the builder believes that they installed two more points of access, one below the pantry and another below the guestroom closet, but these did not exist. Indeed, in April of 2015 the builder, without authorization, cut a hole in the guestroom closet floor demonstrating the lack of inspection access to the bilge. Per the RCD and BSS standards access to the connections to the fuel tanks is required. The BSS General Requirements state: “All permanently installed fuel tanks and fuel system connections must be accessible for inspection.”

Note: The lack of bilge access at delivery was a major issue and has resulted in considerable costs.

The bilge floods from the broken sewer pipe were gone but not forgotten.

Issue 63

Complaint: Bilge contaminated with sewage, diesel, and antifreeze

Location: General

Date of first report: 25/10/13

Description: Multiple leaks caused by build defects have resulted in sewer water, antifreeze from the central heating system, and diesel going into the forward cabin bilge. Wanderlust’s owner’s manual cautions “Keep the bilges clean to avoid the discharge of illegal effluent by automatic bilge pumps.” The bilge needs to be cleaned after manufacturing defects have resulted in sewage, diesel, and antifreeze being spilt into the bilges. If the bilge is not cleaned the pools of diesel and antifreeze will continue to come forward when the trim of the boat shifts.

Wanderlust’s Operator’s Manual arrived late and was riddled with errors.

Issue 64

Complaint: Owner’s Manual

Location: General

Date of first report: 9/9/14

Description: Wanderlust’s Owner’s Manual was received very late and has numerous technical errors including the weight of the boat, the tanks sizes, and the fuse ratings. We need a fully corrected version of this manual that accurately reports Wanderlust’s specifications. There is no 12V wiring scheme included. It also should include complete and accurate plumbing and wiring diagrams. Basic information about the location of all critical components of the boat should be included. The Builder’s Certificate and the manual provide different dimensions for Wanderlust. Which numbers are correct?

Issue 65

Complaint: The air conditioner circuit, after the unit is turned off, continues to draw around 1 amp @ 230V for hours.

Location: Master bedroom

Date of first report: 6/7/15

Description: We learned in November of 2016 that the starter battery maintenance charger and the air conditioner are on the same circuit. When directly questioned the builder stated that only the air conditioner was on the breaker labeled air conditioner. The lack of a label may well have contributed to the early demise of the starter batteries.

Note: The curious case of the maintenance charger wiring. Sadly this led to the demise of the starter batteries (Issue 22).  The air conditioner has had difficulties that have been outside the range of the dispute. Indeed, Webasto replaced the compressor and the control units were replaced by us. Problems of this sort are expected but do become more frustrating when there is an overlay of so many additional issues.

Issue 66

Issue removed

Issue 67

Combined with Issue 30

Once Wanderlust was lifted out of the water we could see that the underwater paint adhesion problems were nearly universal at the welds. Paint does not adhere well to shiny metal.

Issue 68

Complaint: Black hull painted shows signs of flaky off of the rubbing strake. There are concerns about the fidelity of the paint below the waterline.

Location: Outside

Date reported: 10/16

Description: Paint is flaking off, not scrapping off, of the rubbing strake. Numerous other barges built by the builder have experienced similar hull paint issues. We believe that there is a likelihood of an underlying paint adherence issue.

Note: Our concerns here were triggered in part by specific information about other boats that we acquired along the way. The fears turned out to be well founded, as demonstrated by the results of a paint survey that was performed in the summer of 2017. The widespread paint adherence issues meant that the hull needed to be grit-blasted, at least in the heat affected zones. It added to considerable expense to what should have been routine maintenance.

Low level ventilation arrangements on Wanderlust

Issue 69

Complaint: Ventilation to the galley and the saloon is not compliant to the governing build standards.

Location: Galley

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection.

Note: This issue raised by the RCD survey we commissioned.

Issue 70

Complaint: Engine compartment bilge pump is not accessible for inspection, replacement, and cleaning.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: Access in the area where the pump is located is extremely limited. Paragraph 7 within ISO 15083:2003 stipulates that all DC bilge pumps should be assessible for inspection and servicing. The engine compartment bilge pump within the craft could only be felt. The ill-considered, confined locations for the bilge pumps rendered the pumps irretrievable.

Note: This issue was confirmed by the RCD survey we commissioned.

Issue 71

Complaint: Engine compartment bilge pump is improperly fused.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: A 2 A fuse is specified on the pump. (We assume. The pump is inaccessible for inspection.) From the manual that the pump is likely to be a Bilge Mate 500, which is clearly labeled as requiring a 2 A fuse. A 15 fuse was installed. See also Issue 27.

Note: The fuses were done carelessly, if at all.

Issue 72

Complaint: The hull fitting for the engine compartment bilge pump is too close to the waterline and does not conform to the build standards.

Location: Outside

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: A swan neck or rerouting is required. ISO standards stipulate that the minimum down-flooding height for category C craft shall be no less than 750mm however the bilge pump outlets were located 500 mm above the loaded water line.

Note: This issue was raised by the RCD survey we commissioned.

Issue 73

Complaint: The hull fitting for the forward cabin bilge pump is too close to the waterline and does not conform to the build standards.

Location: Outside

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: A swan neck or rerouting is required. ISO standards stipulate that the minimum down-flooding height for category C craft shall be no less than 750mm however the bilge pump outlets were located 500mm above the loaded water line.

Note: This issue was raised by the RCD survey we commissioned.

Issue 74

Complaint: Electrical switches whose purpose is not readily apparent are not properly labeled, as required per the build standards.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported: 13/9/2013

Description: There are at least six instances of this. This issue was mentioned at launch during Wanderlust’s walk through. We were told that we would be charged to have the proper labels installed.

Issue 75

Complaint: Raw water inlet hoses below the water line are not double clamped as required by the build standards.

Location: Engine room

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: Five hose connections routed to the through-hull fittings for the generator/air conditioning unit did not incorporate double clamps for the hose connections. All hose connections below waterline should be double-clamped.

Note: This issue was raised by the RCD survey we commissioned.

Issue 76

Complaint: The interior metal surfaces of Wanderlust were not painted as described in the “dutch style barge specification” current as of our contract signing. Rust and flaking is evident.

Location: Inside of the hull, below the waterline.

Date first reported: 10/16

Description: From the brochure, “Internally the boat has an additional coat of 2 pack epoxy primer (remember it is already blasted and primed) we then use two more coats of a bitumen product to the areas under the floor. The engine room is given two coats of marine 2 pack epoxy then two coats of international engine space paint.” The inside hull paint appears to be a single coat. Though the hull spaces are generally not accessible for inspection there is evidence of rust formation and paint adherence issues where it is visible. The ribs are tack welded to the hull leaving a space under the ribs that has not been coated. After repeated water intrusions these places are now rusting.

Note: In the end we did not pursue this issue though it is significant.

Issue 77

Complaint: The white diesel tank level gauge wiring has failed.

Location: General

Date first reported: 10/16 (the gauge failure was reported earlier)

Description: The gauge required per regulations has failed. Extensive trouble shooting with MCS indicates that there is a wiring fault between the display and the sender. The wiring is inaccessible for testing. Wiring should not fail. See also 48 above.

Issue 78

Complaint: Craft Identification Number (CIN) not located properly

Location: Outside

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: The CIN consists of an engraved label mounted starboard side on the aft cabin side. Per the standards, the craft Identification Number should be located within 300mm of the transom. The relevant ISO Standard clearly stipulates that should the identification number be removed then there should be evidence of scarring. This requirement has not been met.

Note: This issue was raised by the RCD survey we commissioned.

Issue 79

Complaint: The LPG System does not conform to the governing standards.

Location: General

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: Within the Declaration of Conformity supplied by the manufacturer the standard used for the gas installation had been omitted. A ‘Bubble Tester’ has been installed within the gas locker, however the transparent bowl for the bubble tester did not incorporate the necessary liquid (glycerin); the bowel was simply empty. The Owners Manual refers to a pressure gauge for testing the gas system however a pressure gauge had not been fitted. Three fuel-burning appliances are located within the accommodation but insufficient high- level ventilation has been fitted for the said appliances.   Four roof vents were fitted but only one located in the galley. The roof vent within the galley could be rendered closed, however there was no approved sign fitted indicating “the vent should be closed whilst at sea and left open whilst fuel burning appliances are in use”. See also Issue 69.

Note: This issue raised by the RCD survey we commissioned.

Issue 80

Complaint: No provision for isolating the main fuel line without entering the engine compartment has been provided.

Location: General

Date first reported, 10/16, after the RCD inspection

Description: Per the standards, it is required that there is a fuel shut off valve outside the engine compartment.

Note: This issue was raised by the RCD survey we commissioned.  There was some debate with the builder’s surveyor on this issue.

Measuring Wanderlust’s draft to the top of the skeg.

Issue 81

Complaint: Wanderlust’s maximum draft is incorrectly reported and is deeper than advertised. The 65-foot barges were wrongly marketed.

Location: General

Date first reported 5/11/2014

Description: In “dutch style barge specification”, the builder’s brochure current as of the build contract signing, states that 65-foot barges will have a 0.90 m draft. The Owner’s Manual states that Wanderlust’s maximum draft is 0.90 m. The Builder’s Certificate states that the draft is 0.89 m. In October 2014, the builder measured Wanderlust’s draft and found it in excess of one meter under loading conditions that would provide less than maximal draft. He then claimed that they measurement is made to the top of the skeg, an assertion that is incorrect according to EN ISO 8666:2002 that states that the “lowest part of the craft”. According to this standard there is a 1% tolerance for published linear dimensions. The standard states, “Data are considered published if stated in the owner’s manual or used as a specification in brochures or other written material used for marketing the craft.” Wanderlust’s draft is significantly deeper than what is promised in the marketing material, data that should have been reliable per ISO 8666:2002. See also Issue 64.  Wanderlust was fifth boat in her class.  The draft should have been updated well before we made the purchase.

A relatively minor paint issue on the step down section of the top deck.

Issue 82

Complaint: Repair paint on the step down section of the top deck is peeling up.

Location: Outside

Date of first report: 10/16

Description: A paint repair conducted by a Piper painter was done on top of an unprepared surface. A hand-sized patch of this paint has peeled up. The specification for Awlcraft 2000 paint specifies that a painted surface that has cured more than 24 hours must be sanded prior to adding an additional coat.

Note: A minor specific issue among the greater set of external paint problems.

Issue 83

Complaint: Hose fitting not included with freshwater deck wash outlet.

Location: Outside

Date of the first report: 10/16

Description: This brand-specific fitting comes together with the hull fitting but was not included with the boat. Thus a new deck wash fitting must be ordered.

Note: Perhaps the most minor of all issues. We ended up purchasing this fitting at our own expense.  Given that we were in the midst of the dispute, it was not possible for us to directly ask for this part from the builder.

The replacement plaque provided by the builder in 2018 shows the closest estimate of the red tanks usable capacity that we had at the time.

Issue 87

Complaint: The red diesel tank is 1070 L, significantly smaller than the 1200 L contracted.

Location: Galley

Date of first report: 10/16

Description: The volume of the tank is incorrect in the manual and in the build specification. The EN ISO rules allow for a 5% deviation in size. Wanderlust’s tank is well outside this range. Correcting for the steel thickness, trim of the boat, and the fuel pick-up height the useable volume is likely significantly less than 1000 L.

Note: The RCD standards specify usable tank volumes are used in both the owner’s manual and in the contract. Based on the builder’s CAD drawing Wanderlust’s red diesel tank holds 1070 L in contrast to the contract and Owner’s Manual state that the tank holds 1200 L. In March of 2018, the white diesel tank was completely filled and then emptied. The measured capacity was right around 1000 L, far from the 1200 L claimed in the manual and contract. The usable capacity was much less as the fuel pick-ups are about 70 mm above the bottom of the tank, under normal trim conditions. That is a high percentage of unusable volume, roughly 23%, of a tank that is only 300 mm high. We expect that the red tank is similar and even when the blowback issue us resolved, the tank’s usable capacity will be in the region of 700 L, less than 60% of the contracted 1200 L.

Issue 88

Complaint: Usable volume of white diesel tank significantly smaller than the 1200 L contracted.

Location: Under guestroom floor

Date of complaint: 3/17

Description: The builder stated in writing on October 20 2015: “Both of your tanks are approx. 1200ltr. In a 1200 total capacity tank you should get 1000-1050 ltrs useable due to the fuel take off being 20mm up from the bottom of the tank.”

This statement was false as the builder’s CAD drawing clearly indicated that the red diesel tank has a volume of 1070 L. Accepting the builder’s figure of 1000 to 1050 for the usable volume of the white diesel tanks means the tank volume is below the threshold of +/-5% for published volumes specified in the contract (see EN ISO 8666:2002). The Declaration of Conformity signed by the builder includes reference to this standard as an essential requirement.

Note: In March of 2018 the white diesel tank was completely filled and then emptied. The total volume of fuel removed was right around 1000 liters and the tank was completely empty by visual inspection. In actual fact, based on pictures and correcting for the normal 1% trim and pick-ups that approximately 2 m from the lowest point in the tank, the level-determining upper portion of the pick-up is around 70 mm over the lowest part of the tank, making tank’s usable capacity close to 770L. Far from what is contracted, but not dire for a motor that consumes around 3.3 L/hr on the canals.


11 thoughts on “The Table of Issues

  1. After reading that all I can say is WOW ! The guy should not be building barge s. What a very foolish stubborn person, Very happy you stuck at it, As his method was to make you walk away and give up. The buy back offer summed it all up profit at any cost.

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  3. Hope you take the time to read the JENAL build problems , it ended up with court orders , bailifs and if I remember correctly it was near 6 years from keel laying to being on the water, what realy upset me since 2014 & 2015 season he stopped the blog , So as a wraning thats another builder to stay away from, this was a custom build and maybe three times the price of Pipers but still had big problems.

  4. I’m staggered – they wouldn’t even label switches! But, the toilet seat is a good one. I can empathise. Our ensuite toilet was changed recently and the new system has exactly the same problem, the seat cover won’t stay up. Fine for those sitting but a damned inconvenience for those of the gender who don’t have to. Sadly, the builder in this case was me but I’ve been equally unresponsive as your builder, so I’m living with the inconvenience. Needless to say, I am an amateur, not a professional builder – the standard of service should be totally different.

  5. Pingback: The Rhône: Ampuis | Wanderlust

  6. Hi Becky and Dave

    Thanks for this itemisation, and I’m sorry you have had more than your fair share of problems to deal with over the years.

    We’ve lived aboard a narrowboat on the UK waterway for 10 years and are beginning to think in terms of swapping our beloved 53′ x 7′ home for a more substantial dutch barge. We went to last year’s annual Piper Event in Henley-on-Thames to have a look a their barges and talk with some owners. I must say your report acts as a sobering counter-balance to the ‘Piper love-fest’ we found there. Everyone loved their barges and extolled the quick response to miscellaneous problems they had encountered — mostly minor ailments with woodwork and upholstery and some generator glitches. But I suppose you were never going to be at the top of their invite list.

    I suppose what I feel worst about is the misrepresentation of specifications you experienced — the size of the black water tank, anti-freeze dilution, under-specced shower surrounds. If you lose trust on this these small ‘hidden away’ things, how do you proceed on the large things like leaking diesel tanks and mis-application of paint systems?

    I’ve heard it said that it takes a special kind of person to commission a new boat … and I think you help confirm in our minds to look for a traditional second-hand craft.

    • There’s a natural tipping of the scales for promotional events and not everyone is invited.

      What I tell people is the safest bet is to buy a used boat, new build or old, from a very diligent owner. Boats are complex and it is very easy to ignore problems as they develop. These issues, sometimes very big, come back to haunt the new owners. I’ve seen and heard all sorts of horror stories, fluids in the bilge, drug paraphernalia behind walls, bizarre wiring, widespread mold, that conscientious and knowledgeable owners would have dealt with. Quiz the owner about the mechanical details of the boat. Be worried if they don’t know much. If the owner is not available more research is required.

      I would not trust the survey along. Surveyors are good for the hull thickness measurement, etc, but not so good for interior domestic items. You need to literally look everywhere you can.

      You of course probably know all of that from your narrow boat.

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