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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > The significance of sea trials
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Thread: The significance of sea trials Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-01-2011 10:21 AM
Undadar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
It was the best $300 we could have spent on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and a week later we were emailed a detailed 40-page document that we used as our starting point for our To Do list.
Ditto! I learned a tremendous amount from my surveyor.

The one thing that I would add to the sea trial that I only now understand is that this is the time to perform a detailed inspection of the sails. It is too easy to look up, note how beautiful they are, and move on. However; next time, I will inspect them much more closely. Sails are not the most expensive part of a boat but they are not the cheapest either.

JdFinley.com | Sailing, development, and life with JD
You can observe a lot just by watching.
09-01-2011 09:54 AM
BluemanSailor I just recently brought a boat. First time I looked at her, she was nice - needed work and I was on the fence about buying her. Made an offer that was accepted - dependent on a sea trial and survey. Following week had the survey and sea trial- the surveyor went with us on the sail and that sealed the deal. She sailed so sweet ....if it wasn't for the great sea trial we had I probably wouldn't have brought the boat.
09-01-2011 03:12 AM
SloopJonB
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenif View Post
So i would argue survey first sea trial second.
As has been stated, you don't have a substantial financial investment in a sea trial so logically it should go first. I like to do the sea trial on the trip to the yard where it will be hauled for the survey.
08-30-2011 11:12 PM
Grand River Raider
Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
As John says just above, sea trial, then survey. Sea trial has to have purpose. Look at sails, and remember these are a large part of a boat's cost to you if they're not in serviceable condition. Look at running rigging, reef the main to make sure everything works well. Run the engine, forward and reverse. Get used to what it takes to open up a folding prop if the boat has one. Check electronics/instruments under power and under sail. Use the plumbing underway... operate sinks, head, etc... What sound do the winches make under load? Do they just need service, or are they toast? It's kind of about the sailing, but it's really about getting a look at things in the condition that you plan on using the boat in the first place, and that's sailing!
Very true...you should not be out there joy riding during the sea trial Good advice on what to check during the trial.
08-30-2011 11:10 PM
Grand River Raider
Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanH View Post
My point is that as a newbie, you can definitely feel the difference. You may not know 'why' it sails a particular way, but you can determine if the boat is behaving in a way that makes you happy. If you have someone experienced, they can tell you why you are feeling what you're feeling and let you know if it's supposed to behave that way.
This is a bit of a different perspective on the new sailor's ability to detect things from a trial. Will have to try out as many boats as possible.
08-30-2011 08:16 PM
Classic30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
See, this just pisses me off about surveyors. The whole purpose of hiring one, is so that you have an "expert" to find things that you, the "amatuer" would not find.
That's funny. I thought the whole purpose of hiring a surveyor was to allow you to get insurance..
08-30-2011 04:07 PM
puddinlegs As John says just above, sea trial, then survey. Sea trial has to have purpose. Look at sails, and remember these are a large part of a boat's cost to you if they're not in serviceable condition. Look at running rigging, reef the main to make sure everything works well. Run the engine, forward and reverse. Get used to what it takes to open up a folding prop if the boat has one. Check electronics/instruments under power and under sail. Use the plumbing underway... operate sinks, head, etc... What sound do the winches make under load? Do they just need service, or are they toast? It's kind of about the sailing, but it's really about getting a look at things in the condition that you plan on using the boat in the first place, and that's sailing!
08-30-2011 03:08 PM
jonfreeman
Sea Trial First - IMHO

From my real world experience, a sea trial FIRST really makes sense for a big reason:
- COST

A few years ago, my wife and I fell in love with a VERY well equipped boat. RADAR, bow thruster, GPS, and all the requisite gear. Boat was on the hard, and LOOKED really good, so we made an offer, contingent on sea trial and survey. So far so good.

We scheduled the sea trial and survey concurrently (same day and time), thinking it was appropriate.

On the appointed day, the boat was splashed, and off we went. Nearly ALL systems had serious problems. Engine would not rev to HALF spec. Transmission made HORRIBLE sounds when going into gear (fwd AND reverse). RADAR spun, but the screen was dead. VHF didn't transmit. Refer didn't cool. GPS didn't work. Only the bow thruster worked correctly.

All of this was OBVIOUS as soon as we left the dock. Of course, the surveyor was doing his investigation concurrently, but I would have walked away for free (or minimal cost) at that point, but I was committed to $400 for the surveyor.

After the surveyor was done, he said what we already now knew. "You should have sea trialed first, before calling me..."

To add insult to injury, I had also hired a mechanic to check the drivetrain out that same day (another $175). I DID get an estimate for the engine and transmission...

We ended up buying another boat of the same model and vintage, but we knew after the sea trial that scheduling the survey made sense (and had a MUCH better chance of a positive result).

My 2 cents (and $575 worth of advice).

Jon Freeman
Catalina 310
Tacoma, WA
08-30-2011 11:33 AM
JordanH
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenif View Post
I am trying to figure out what a survey may turn up,

So i would argue survey first sea trial second.
Unless you have x-ray vision, you'll likely want a surveyor to check for things like a wet deck core. If you don't know the standards, then perhaps you want him to look at the electrical system to make sure it meets code; proper breakers and so-on. I'm pretty sure you didn't do a dye test on the rigging and so-on and definitely didn't go up the rig to check for frayed ends at the top of the stays/shrouds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
See, this just pisses me off about surveyors. The whole purpose of hiring one, is so that you have an "expert" to find things that you, the "amatuer" would not find.
Yes, it upset me too and that's why I'm passing on the lesson learned so someone won't have to go through the same issue. I take the right steps but still went astray.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand River Raider View Post
And this is what I was driving at in my OP for this thread. As a new sailor, the subtleties of sailing characteristics will be lost on me due to having a few points of comparison, so unless there is something glaring a new sailor is not likely to notice it. But as others have rightly pointed out, the trial is valuable still for a number of reasons.
I continually give this advice to friends and strangers; Before you buy a boat, try out as many as you can so you know what qualities you like in a boat before you buy. It's like buying your first car... you may like the looks of the Ferrari poster in your room, but when you actually drive a car, you may be more of a truck guy, or find a mini-van meets your needs better than a Corvette. Sure, it's fast and looks nice, but how does it's driving characteristics meet your needs?

As for the subtleties... sometimes they aren't so subtle. For example, lets look at a J24, a Shark 24 and my Contessa 26. I sailed the Shark 24 for a few years as a borrowed club boat. I didn't like that it was fairly 'tippy' and turned slowly; it felt, to my inexperienced hand, that it was an awkward combination. I then had the chance to sail a J24 in 20knot winds... ooooh boy did we fly. Although it heels quite a bit (with my slight frame holding it down), it could turn on the dime and was a real "racy" kind of feel when compared to the Shark. My wife hated it. We bought a Contessa. It turns... eventually. The full keel with stern rudder means it does not back up where you want it to go without planning and luck and a lot of runway. You do not spin it in its own length. However, it is a heavier displacement boat, goes quite nicely in a straight line for long days and even though it heels quite a bit, it's way more stable. My wife and I both like it... although, for a day sail, I'd prefer the J24 - I won't mind skipping a day on the Shark 24 though.

My point is that as a newbie, you can definitely feel the difference. You may not know 'why' it sails a particular way, but you can determine if the boat is behaving in a way that makes you happy. If you have someone experienced, they can tell you why you are feeling what you're feeling and let you know if it's supposed to behave that way.
08-30-2011 11:30 AM
emoney Personally, I've never felt you could purchase a boat, with any confidence any way, without a sea trial. Characteristics, on the other hand, can only be garnered from talking with current or previous owners of the same model. The sea trial tells you how the boat's going to "drive" so-to-speak, and then verifies the systems that are "motion-affected" are in fact, operating as expected. I wonder, however, what type things did the surveyor "miss", that you found on the 6 week shakedown? Keep in mind, when it comes to boats, what's perfect today, might be useless tomorrow, lol.
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