Re: No Sea Trial
No, willy, a boat broker is not a roller skating rink, you can't just go out and play. The purpose of a sea trial is not to figure out whether a boat sails nicely, but to find out if there are any problems which you can't detect at the dock, such as an engine that smokes under load, overheats, or instruments that black out when heeled on starboard tack.
You are expected to go out and beg, borrow, steal, charter, crew on other boats to figure out what handles nicely, because no sea trial will really tell you that anyway. Not unless you stay out long enough to experience two-knot calms and eight-foot seas with 40 knots all in the same say.
She's asking for your offer and deposit because that eliminate the tire kickers. Unlike BaskinRobbins, boat brokers don't give out free samples. Sea trials mean a major investment of time and money (and risks, if you break the boat or run it aground or hit something) so they're just not done before there's money on the table.