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Old 09-10-2010
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sea trials on used boats

Currently seeking my first yacht - looking at used 32-34 long keel but to get a better feel before making any commitment are sellers generally happy to give a sea trial? How long should a trial take to get a reasonable appreciation of the boat's character and would I be expected to pay for this service? Thanks for any advice!
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Old 09-10-2010
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One can ask a Seller if he/she is interested in giving a prospective buyer a ride but I doubt that will be too likely. A sea trial is normally only availalbe as a contingency to a fully executed sales agreement as is the buyer's approval of a Report of Survey.

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Old 09-10-2010
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I have found that brokers are generally reluctant to give a test sail. But most of the individual sellers are often more than happy to give a nice sail. A few I have spoken to are selling as they don't have anyone to sail with so are happy to have a hand, and others are proud to show off their boat. For a broker it likely means too long of a time away from there offices. They often want a deposit before taking you out. It also has to be approved and possibly attended by the owner, so arrangements need to be made ahead of time.
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Old 09-10-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msjston View Post
Currently seeking my first yacht - looking at used 32-34 long keel but to get a better feel before making any commitment are sellers generally happy to give a sea trial? How long should a trial take to get a reasonable appreciation of the boat's character and would I be expected to pay for this service? Thanks for any advice!
If the boat is in the water it makes it easier. A good sea trial takes 2-4 hours. Preferably with your surveyor onboard. As stated, you can request a sea trial and acceptance of such as part of your conditional purchase agreement. If you do, you are the one who has to pay for it if the boat is out of the water (launch, haulout, wash down, reblocking, etc). The prospective buyer is usually responsible for paying for things in their best interest.

But some sellers with boats in the water I would expect would be fairly accommodating especially with a conditional purchase agreement or deposit in hand.

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What you are asking for is an outing, not a sea trial. I think it very unlikely an owner of a brokered boat would agree to an outing. If you contact a seller directly, who knows, more likely than not, he/she is usually looking for some crew anyway.
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Old 09-11-2010
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If that was the case, you would not need to buy a boat. Maybe get a sail in the morning and another on a different boat in the afternoon. You could offer to make the drinks from the owners liquor cabinet.
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Generally in my experience to get a 'sea trial' there has to be some money on the table.. even in a private sale. Unless you're a very giving person with a ton of free time, giving a 'ride' to every looky-loo that comes along could become tedious and time consuming.

Rather than targeting sellers, try to find a crew position for a local YC's race program, you'll meet some people and make connections that may also lead to some crewing opportunities on less performance oriented boats. Bonus: you can sail for 'free' (less the cost of an odd case of beer), learn tons and if you're reliable you'll get called back for more. Many casual fleets are often short handed and willing to take crew on here and there.

Just be honest, upfront and dependable. As you learn you'll likely be put in positions with more responsibility and learn still more. Then when you finally go shopping you'll be in a much better position to judge what you really like/want/need.....
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