I was to pay for the boat well this year but the owner agreed to step the mast and otherwise get the boat rigged and tuned and ready to sail. We had not agreed on a sea trial. I figured if the boat surveyed well it should sail as good as it should? Beta/kubota diesel by the way. Not quite sure the owner is of able body to do a sea trial.
You and the surveyor go on the sea trial; owner can stay ashore. I would not buy a boat without a satisfactory sea trial.
Ignore the nonsense about how some don't want to give a free boat ride or you should already know how it sails. That is rubbish. You cannot be confident about how that particular boat will function and discover its true condition without a sea trial.
Even the broker's assn. contract has a sea trial provision in it. The contract I used (and published here for free) makes it a contingency, satisfactory in your absolute discretion, boat to be made ready in the water at the seller's expense. If you don't like it for any reason, you get your deposit back and you walk.
"4. Contingencies: The sale is subject to a satisfactory marine survey or professional inspection, and a satisfactory sea trial by Buyer, both to be completed at Buyer’s option and expense by ____________________. Seller shall make the Sailboat available for the survey and inspection and Seller shall cause the Sailboat to be placed in the water and ready prior to the sea trial at Seller’s expense. In the event that either the survey/inspection or sea trial are not satisfactory to Buyer in his sole discretion, then the earnest money deposit shall be forthwith refunded to Buyer."
Renegotiate your contract to include a sea trial so you can fully test the boat's operation and know what you are buying.
By the way, as much respect as I have for marine surveyors, they do make mistakes, just like everyone else. You cannot rely on his or her opinion as a substitute for your own judgment.
Whole contract I used, drawn up for Virginia:
CONTRACT OF SALE
THIS CONTRACT OF SALE is made this ____ day of ______________, 20____, by and between __________________________________________________ (“the Seller”) and _________________________________________________ (“the Buyer”).
WITNESSETH: that for and in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained herein and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged by the parties, Seller and Buyer agree as follows:
1. Property. Seller agrees to sell to Buyer and Buyer agrees to purchase from Seller a ____ _____________________ sailboat, “______________”, hull identification number __________________________ along with all property attached to and enclosed in the vessel, including but not limited to the following ( all of which, the vessel and the property, to be referred to as “the Sailboat”):
a. All standing and running rigging, mast, boom, spreaders, stays, shrouds, traveler, mainsheet, jib sheets, ________ winches, ____ winch handles, cleats, traveler, and boom vang;
b. Main sail and ____________ jibs, sail bags and mainsail cover;
c. ____________________________________ engine and gas tank;
d. Electrical system, wiring and electronics, marine battery, VHF radio, depth finder, cabin lights, battery switch, running lights, and _______________________________;
d. Below decks/cabin furnishings, equipment, cushions for all berths, cooler, _________ toilet with _____________, foul weather jackets/gear, books, charts, and __________________;
e. Safety gear/equipment: ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ electric and manual bilge pumps, lifelines, stanchions, bow pulpit, stern pulpit, life preservers, flotation cushions, bell, flares, horn and ________________________________;
f. Anchor, anchor chain, and rode, mooring lines, cleats, ____ fenders; and,
g. Other: __________________________________________________ _______.
2. Price. The total sales price for the Sailboat is _____________________________________
Dollars ($___________.00). Seller acknowledges receipt of an earnest money deposit check in the amount of __________________________ Dollars ($______) from Buyer, with the balance of the total sales price to be paid by Buyer to Seller at closing.
3. Seller’s Representations: Seller represents and warrants the following: that Seller has clear title to the Sailboat, free and clear of any liens, levies, charges, assessments, or attachments; that Seller is the sole owner, with full and complete authority to enter into this contract of sale and to transfer title to the vessel to Buyer by a certificate of title; that the Sailboat is in normal operating condition for a vessel of its age; and that Seller has no knowledge of any material defect(s) in the Sailboat, patent or latent, except as follows:__________________________________________ _ __________________________________________________ ___________.
4. Contingencies: The sale is subject to a satisfactory marine survey or professional inspection, and a satisfactory sea trial by Buyer, both to be completed at Buyer’s option and expense by ____________________. Seller shall make the Sailboat available for the survey and inspection and Seller shall cause the Sailboat to be placed in the water and ready prior to the sea trial at Seller’s expense. In the event that either the survey/inspection or sea trial are not satisfactory to Buyer in his sole discretion, then the earnest money deposit shall be forthwith refunded to Buyer.
5. Closing: This sale shall close on _____________________ at _____________________, at which time Buyer shall deliver to Seller a certified or cashier’s check for the balance of the Sales Price in return for Seller’s transfer of the title to Sailboat to Buyer, by endorsement and delivery of a certificate of title to Buyer and by Seller’s transfer to Buyer of any and all keys, locks, and operational devices. The Seller shall deliver and transfer the Sailboat to Buyer at closing, launched/re-launched in the water at _________________________________________. Risk of loss remains with Seller until delivery of title to Buyer.
6. Addresses: Seller and Buyer each warrant and represent to each other that his residential address and telephone number are as follows:
Buyer: __________________________________________________ __________________
7. Modification: This contract may only be modified by a writing signed by the parties.
WITNESS the following signatures and seals: