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  #1  
Old 03-18-2009
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Sea Trial

Hypothetical. You find a boat that is on the hard in the winter and the river or lake is frozen; you are familiar with the sailing characteristics from sailing the same model boat; the survey turns up no problems; no repaired damage etc.; you cannot get it into the water until the spring thaw. In such a situation what will a sea trial turn up that the survey would not?

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Old 03-18-2009
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Potentially all kinds of stuff. Leaks, engine/transmission issues, bent/misaligned shafts, standing and running rigging issues, mast/boom issues, sail condition when canvas spread, etc etc etc etc etc.

Car analogies don't always work with boats, but even if you had a good mechanic look over a prospective used car right there in the parking lot, wouldn't you feel a lot better if you both took that car out for a spin around town and on the highway?

When a closing/settlement date must be scheduled ahead of sea-trial, the customary practice is to place some amount of money in escrow pending sea trial.
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Old 03-18-2009
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Whehter the engine runs, and how well. Whether the halyards will hoist the sails. Whether all equipment on the boat is actually meant for the boat, and actually works. Sure, winch handles aren't a big expense, but they are priceless when you find out the ones that came with the boat don't fit the boat's winches mid-tack, for example.
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Old 03-19-2009
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As John sail the the drive train is the single big issue that is also the most diffcult to test without the boat in the water

The motor needs to reach its rated RPM and run for a while without overheating or any strange color smoke
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Thanks all. With a little thought I might have figured out most of this myself.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
When a closing/settlement date must be scheduled ahead of sea-trial, the customary practice is to place some amount of money in escrow pending sea trial.
What do you think a fair amount to go in escrow would be? Obviously it depends on the boat and engine, but I've had a broker say ~$2000, but should it be more? Will $2000 cover any potential problems? It was the seller's broker after all...
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Old 03-19-2009
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What do you think a fair amount to go in escrow would be? Obviously it depends on the boat and engine, but I've had a broker say ~$2000, but should it be more? Will $2000 cover any potential problems? It was the seller's broker after all...
$2k may be to much or too little. It completely depends on the cost of the boat.

Many brokers ask for an escrowed 10% deposit when making an offer on a boat (which is negotiable of course). I would think a similar 10% escrow pending completion of sea-trial would be reasonable, assuming the boat has otherwise surveyed well. Fair's fair.

If they balked, I would counter that the alternative is to postpone the settlement date until the sea-trail can be completed.
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Old 03-19-2009
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We recently purchased our boat, which had already been put on the hard for winter and was blocked in by other boats--basically no way to do a sea trial. We negotiated an escrow which ended up being a little more than 10%. We still did a survey (of course), and we ran the engine up to operating temperature, for a solid 20 - 30 minutes. The seller also provided complete maintenance records going back over a decade, etc on the boat.

The sea trial will happen when we splash this spring, but we do already own the boat. The surveyor will attend the sea trial, as will the listing broker, and determine if there are any items that should be covered under escrow. Basically we'll be looking for anything that we couldn't check in survey--engine and rig under load, some electronics (like radar on the mast, depth sounder, etc.).

Basically, I think this is a question of comfort with the deal. Our seller and listing broker have been reasonable to deal with, and we have been the same in return. Our boat is in the northeast, where this escrow thing is very common.

Now, all that said, if I was buying NOW (in March), I'd probably make the deal contingent on survey AND sea trial, because it's close enough to Spring to wait for that. When we bought our boat, it was December, so it was harder to do that without risking losing the boat.
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