I gave up sea trials for the purpose of evaluating the boat handling, at least for any production or semi production boat whose characteristics are known. However for a larger boat with an inboard engine that could be expensive to repair or replace, I think a sea trial important to run the engine up to rated rpm, look for smoke, overheating, etc. Also would be needed if the boat has autopilot.I would go for it as a seller. Too much possibility for a better offer over those months. I haven't bothered sea trialing a boat in a very long time, so it isn't a high priority for me.
I think you'll get a lot more useful information from sending an oil sample to a lab. A magnet or disconnecting the rudder angle indicator from the quadrant are two ways to check an AP.I gave up sea trials for the purpose of evaluating the boat handling, at least for any production or semi production boat whose characteristics are known. However for a larger boat with an inboard engine that could be expensive to repair or replace, I think a sea trial important to run the engine up to rated rpm, look for smoke, overheating, etc. Also would be needed if the boat has autopilot.
I didn't read there was an initial survey, but that's good point, if it can be done now. Too many boats are winterized already, or stripped down, so even doing a complete survey could be problematic.My thought is, if the initial survey went well than I would purchase own the boat with the 10% in escrow at risk if something came up during the sea trial.
This is in line with my thinking.... Once I've incurred expense, I want to know it's exclusively my boat, unless I turn it down. That's sticky, because the moment you make a request for a survey squawk to be addressed, you've retracted your original offer and the seller could just move on.
The SOP is that you send a 10% deposit, with your initial offer. However, brokers will always continue to show the boat, while you are in contract and have not yet accepted (post survey). The honest ones will tell the back up prospect. The dishonest won't. I recently called on a boat and was told it had a verbal accepted offer. I said I wasn't interested in seeing it and interfering with a standing deal. Call me if it dies. Interestingly, it turned out to be a boat in the US that was owned by a foreign owner, with a verbal agreement to another foreign owner. They hadn't inked the deal, because neither could get to the boat and likely won't, until well into next year. I almost made an exception, but it turned out to be wired for foreign 220v house power and I didn't want to refit or deal with conversion.I do believe that it is common practice to put down some earnest money if you want the boat to be held off the market pending your inspection.
Did your contracts have any language that contained what you might discover in a sea trial? Obviously, as a buyer, you had ample integrity. Not all do and are looking for anyway to chisel down the sales price. Was the contingency contained to engines or hull leaks, for example.with a holdback contingent on sea trial.