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  #1  
Old 11-10-2009
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Sea Trial

I'm just a newbie hear and while I've looked at dozens of boats and been involved in several purchases and sales I've never been on a sea trial. My buys have always been emergency buys, don't ask.

Who is aboard for the seatrial?
Who drives the boat?
How long is it.
What exactly do you check for?

The Dogs checklist seems to be mostly pre-seatria.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2009
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David—

My checklist is just to determine if the boat is even worthy of getting a proper survey and sea trial on...so, it doesn't cover that.

A sea trial generally has at least three people aboard—you, your surveyor and a broker's representative.

Who drives the boat—it depends, but you should ask to take your turn at the controls. However, the broker's representative should take the boat out of the marina and dock it... as they're on the hook for any damage that occurs during those two times, and those are the two stages of the sea trial where risk of collision is highest.

Length is highly variable. The bigger and more complex the boat, the longer the sea trial usually is. Also, it depends if you're going to be motoring the boat or sailing the boat as well.

A sea trial is done to check the performance of the diesel in-board and other systems, like the in-mast furling, should the boat be so equipped, which are difficult or dangerous to check or assess on the hard.

Hope that helps.
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2009
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While I agree it would be great to have your surveyor aboard during a sea trial it is not common practice around here. It would involve more of his time and obviously up the cost - but indeed to be aboard when the boat is sailing loaded would allow the surveyor to get a better picture of the boat's condition/habits.

At the least, though, the broker and the seller should be there. I'd also recommend you bring a knowledgeable friend along if you are yourself inexperienced - he/she can provide an unbiased eye to temper your starry-eyed excitement and buyer's enthusiasm.

Some leave the sea trial to last - it's such a "subjective" condition that in case you, as a buyer, get serious 'cold feet' even though all other subjects clear the sea trial could be a final "out"...
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Old 11-11-2009
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If possible, sail in somewhat challenging conditions.

Not a gale. Not 5-10 knots. It depends on the boat, but at least 10-15 knots and perhaps 15-20 knots, depending on the boat. Not beyond the ablities of the talent on board, an not so tough that you have to focus 100% on the sailing. This will give you a better chance to see if she...
* Has major weather helm. Does she round up too much in a puff?
* Tacks well. Through what angle, though you shouldn't be too tough on that during a trial; often sails are not trimmed too well in a trial.
* How does it like tough chop? If it is a cat, does the bridge deck clear well?
* How are the winches?
* Sail shape. Are the leaches falling off?
* How wet is the ride?

There is much more, but the idea is that many things are tough to evaluate until the boat is pressed. I test drove mine in a 20-25 knot breeze and was glad of it. It removed a lot of doubts.
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Old 11-11-2009
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David, I will comment on what is common during sea trails in my area. Much of I am going to say is dependent on the value of the boat and what expenses the buyer is willing cover.

I would not employee a surveyor who would not be present during a sea trial. A physical survey is only 1/2 of the "story" of the boats condition.

I have been hired to run many boats during a sea trail, sometimes by the boat owner and sometimes by the prospective buyer. Most times on board are the boats owner, the broker, the surveyor, The prospective buyer and myself.

You need this many eyes on your "team" should anything not work or if this a problem. You want at least someone else on board who has your interests in mind. I have watched brokers never leave the buyer alone during the sea trail. You know what they say about a broker if his lips are moving. There are to many things to check out, if you are distracted things can be overlooked. This is the very reason that many times that a Capt. is hired just to run the boat and do nothing else.

If the surveyor and you find a problem, it's just not your word against the broker and the owner. remember your deposit on the boat is riding on it, if the boat passes sea trial and you do not complete the transaction. There are many different views on what "passes" at sea trail.

I did a delivery this spring. The new owner assured me that everything went well at survey and sea trail. I got to the boat the night before we were to leave and checked the boat over, fired up all the systems and everything look good me also.

An hour or so out of the Marina, The chartplotter would not scroll to the next page. The problem plagued us for the next 3 days. It was a bad piece of equipment. The new owner told me at sea trial it was just him the broker and owner. I asked how long he was at the helm during the sea trail. He said 10 min's and didn't remember is the chartplotter was on or off.

But he does remember paying a premium price for the boat because one of the reasons was "up to date electronics." by the time he took possession of the boat it is to late to negotiate. This unit cost to replace would have more than covered (by about 3 times) the cost of paying the surveyor extra and hiring a Capt for a half a day.
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Last edited by bubb2; 11-11-2009 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 11-11-2009
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I think you will run into deposit issues IF you just don't care for how the boat sails and its not a defect
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Old 11-11-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
I think you will run into deposit issues IF you just don't care for how the boat sails and its not a defect
Could be.... "subject to satisfactory sea trial" though, could mean pretty much anything, couldn't it??? Presumably "satisfactory" to the buyer....
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Could be.... "subject to satisfactory sea trial" though, could mean pretty much anything, couldn't it??? Presumably "satisfactory" to the buyer....
Faster, That is the point I was trying to make. It is best that a buyer has a professional on board during the sea trial. That can end the discussions about what is "satisfactory" and what is not.

I know of another situation where the surveyor caught that the refrigerator (water cooled) was not cooling at sea trail. It was running and you could hear the compressor but it was not cooling. The offer on the boat amended to repair or replace the fridge. The surveyor paid for himself that day as it took a new fridge to make the sea trial satisfactory.
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  #9  
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..... The surveyor paid for himself that day as it took a new fridge to make the sea trial satisfactory.
Yes, I suspect that that is often the case, in the end the survey is not really a "cost" item in the big picture.

btw earlier I was not advocating doing a sea trial without a surveyor on board, but simply saying that it was not typical of the way we've seen things done here.
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Yes, I suspect that that is often the case, in the end the survey is not really a "cost" item in the big picture.

btw earlier I was not advocating doing a sea trial without a surveyor on board, but simply saying that it was not typical of the way we've seen things done here.
Faster, I understand that. But here in New York, I am surprised when the owners and buyers don't bring their lawyers on board for the sea trails.
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