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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are in the beginning stages of selling our boat and have had some discussions with a broker. In those discussions the broker asked whether I wanted to be present during the sea trial or would I prefer to just let the broker, surveyor and the potential buyer take the boat out by themselves. I asked why should that matter and she related that during the sea trial they might do things that I would be uncomfortable with, such as; run the engine at the high limit rpm, as they did on a recent test until the engine overheated and they had to shut it down; or they might raise all the sails completely even though it was blowing 30 knots as they cannot predict when the surveyor may be available to do the sea trial and ended up breaking something, maybe just a shackle that time.

So my questions is (as this is our first time selling a boat) is it normal to use the sea trial as a "stress" test of the integrity of a boat?
 

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Aabsolutely not. the sea trial is not a strength test of your boat it is to confirm that all the equip is accounted for and that it is in the condition as advertised and no more. it should be done in fair weather and safe conditions. I would never let them go without me on board. For them to say they might do things that are pushing the boat to the limit is absurd. your broker is suppose to help you sell your boat and not show the new owner all it's faults beyond normal operating conditions. if you did let them take the boat out without you, there should be a Licensed Captain, that has experience on that type of boat, on board
I would find another broker right now .
 

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Interestng...

I recently bought a boat and both the broker and the surveyor said that they'd never do a sea trial without the owner on-board. Their rationale was that if something did break, the owner could say it was their fault and hold them responsible.

However, during the sea trial, the owner did in fact run the boat at wide open throttle at the surveyor's request.
 

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Hello,

Its been my experience that the broker usually does the sea trial but the owner may be present as well. I have bought 4 boats from brokers, all surveyed and sea trialed, only 1 where the owner was present. When I sold my boats, I always operated the boat during the sea trial (but I never had a broker).

Regarding the actual operation, the surveyor will want to run the engine to stated max rpm, will test the motor mounts, should check the sails and sail handling gear, etc. Nothing irresponsible should be done, but if you were going to buy the boat you would want those things checked.

Barry
 

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is it normal to use the sea trial as a "stress" test of the integrity of a boat?
Depends on what one means by that. It is standard for the engine to be run to max wide open throttle, while underway. Temperatures should be taken and it should be confirmed that she makes close to rated max rpm, at that throttle. I don't know too many that would fully hoist a sail in 30kts. It would endanger the crew, let alone the sails. It's not uncommon for a survey to disclose that conditions did not allow for certain things. If the buyer is proceeding with a 30kt seatrial, they need to be prepared not to see all the sails.

Personally, I'd try to reschedule a sea trial that was on a day with 30 kt winds. It would be in all parties interest. On the other hand, no deal gets better with time. It's a real balancing act.

As a buyer, I would push back at the notion of having the seller aboard. I once had the seller join the broker for a showing and the seller sucked all the air out of the room. He just wouldn't stop talking. At the least, their would need to be an agreement that they sat in the corner, with their mouth shut. I would advise the seller to insure their insurance still covered them with the broker and surveyor in command and that the contract with these parties didn't indemnify them. In some cases, insurance has the right to deny a claim, if you've waived their right to try to collect it from the party that caused the loss.
 

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My experience is the same as quickstep’s.
In my case the buyer asked a question which the surveyor wouldn’t know so I answered it. He emphatically said he didn’t ask me and only wanted the surveyor to answer. I went up top and didn’t say another word.
 

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Part of the problem with the seller aboard is they are not typically professional salepeople. They think they are being helpful with their vast knowledge of the boat and are blind to the damage they can cause to a deal, if truthful answers aren't stated well.

Here's a silly example. The seller followed the letter of the law in the maintenance manual and changed the oil once per year. The broker knows the buyer is the kind of owner who changes it every Fall, before layup, every Spring before launch and again, before or after their summer cruise. The seller thinks they are bragging up their diligent following of the rules, while the broker knows the prospect will be turned off. Leave the selling to the pros.
 

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I my purchase last year the owner "captained" the boat during the sea trail. Allowed me to actually sail the boat some also. As stated above the broker would only do the sea trail with the owner or a licensed captain. He would not take on that responsibility and shouldn't in my opinion.

On another thought. If I was working on purchasing a boat and didn't feel comfortable with any of the key players I wouldn't peruse that boat. I need to feel we are all working together to make the deal.

Foster
 

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I find this discussion informative and kinda funny.
I have no experience buying a used boat or selling one for that matter. I bought Shiva, a Contest36s new.
My sense is that some boats have modifications which peculiar to that boat... or have gear which may not be well known. I give some examples.
My batteries for starting the engine require that both the House and the Start bank switches be on. If you try to start the engine with ONLY the Start bank a 15 amp fuse is blown. So someone new may turn on the Start bank and try to fire up the engine and find it doesn't start and likely not know that they blew a fuse.
You don't need the start bank to run the engine... all it does is drive the starter motor.
My AP... Alpha 3000 is not connected to GPS. It works perfectly... but YOU have to dial in the course you want. It also requires that the ram which drives the rudder post be mechanically engaged into a link arm. This is done with a teleflex cable, But to engage the piston needs to be aligned with the link arm. So... I disengage when the helm is centered... and so I engage it at Center Helm. In fact the AP does not need to be ON to do this and sometimes it's better that its off... and not trying to steer. Once engaged the AP will immediately steer toward to set course direction. So... to use the AP.... set the AP course dial to the course the boat is on... refer to compass or instruments. Turn it on. Next engage the ram... once engage use the dial to steer the course you want. Do the reverse to return to manual helm. Turn the AP off... disengage the link arm.
Actually sailing the boat is no different from any other sloop... trim sails and steer.
All my equipment is set up to how I like to sail.... and that may not be how others do. I doubt the average broker or buyer would know how to "work" my engine drive refrigeration.
As far as revving the diesel... I have no problem with that.
I would never let a broker and a buyer take the boat without me. Further I would not want to show the boat to someone who is unfamiliar with Contest.
 

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that is not the issue... I believe the question was have a broker and an buyer do a sea trial without the owner on board.
It sounded like the OP was selling his boat, and the broker was suggesting he not be present for the sea trial.

As a buyer, I would want the owner on board, but wouldn't care if they were not. As a seller, I would be on board operating the boat no matter what the buyer, surveyor, or broker wanted.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks all for your replies. My Clearwater 35 is unique enough (it is a swing keel and they only made 7 of these boats) that I feel I would need to be there just to show them how to operate some of the parts that they might not be familiar with. My question to the broker was, "whose insurance covers the boat if I am not operating it?" That is still an open question, for now. I can understand why it would be a disadvantage, to the sale of the boat, to have the owner on board (I would have to learn to keep my mouth shut and hide sometimes so the buyer could ask his tough questions of the surveyor).
 

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(I would have to learn to keep my mouth shut and hide sometimes so the buyer could ask his tough questions of the surveyor).
The sea trial is usually the last part of a survey, and a relatively quick one just to show everything is operational. Almost all of the tough questions get asked during the much longer and more involved structural and equipment survey, where the owner doesn't need to be present.

Mark
 

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The owner of the boat has the right to insist on being there. The seller has the right to insist they are not. Guess how that works itself out.

Personally, I don’t want the owner there, but as a buyer, I would not likely walk away, if they insisted. I would walk away from the boat, if they became a distraction or were a jerk about it.
 

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The owner of the boat has the right to insist on being there. The seller has the right to insist they are not. Guess how that works itself out.

Personally, I don’t want the owner there, but as a buyer, I would not likely walk away, if they insisted. I would walk away from the boat, if they became a distraction or were a jerk about it.
As a buyer.... what is the objection to the owner being on board for a sea trial? Is the purpose of the sea trial to get an idea of how the boat sails and motors? Of course when the wind stinks you can't assess how it sails... If seller wants to see how the engine works, the boat steers an so on... what does having the owner there have anything to do with that?
 

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Buyers are there with a critical eye. One that most owners would take offense to. It’s simply uncomfortable for many. If that distraction leaves a buyer feeling they didn’t get to do the focused review they wanted, it’s a negative.
 

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Buyers are there with a critical eye. One that most owners would take offense to. It’s simply uncomfortable for many. If that distraction leaves a buyer feeling they didn’t get to do the focused review they wanted, it’s a negative.
Hang on.... boat is for sale... Buyer visits the boat with a broker... Probably owner is there to answer questions. Why would a seller be offended? He might think... "this buyer doesn't know much... what a jerk..!" Does it matter if he pays the asking price or more? Low offer... seller could be "insulted"... Sorry mate... I don't consider the offer serious... I have things to do... Have a nice day... (then calls buyer's broker if there is one... look don't bring non serious people to waste my time.

By the time they are having a sea trial... an offer has been made,,, maybe even a survey... who cares what the seller and the broker say or think????
 

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A test sail in 30 knots of wind? Really now, That is way out of line. Did you give them permission? There are maybe one or two good sailing friends that I might let do that but I'm sure that they would decline unless it was to save a life or near equivalent. Reckless endangerment comes to mind. You need someone else in your corner to sell the boat. It is your boat. It is your call. Period. Boat brokers should not be trusted. They are is business to make money not protect your interests. Don't EVER forget that. Any responsible surveyor would not go along with that sort of thing.
 

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I know how to operate my boat, and no broker or buyer or surveyor does. My insurance only covers operation of the boat by the two of us, or someone under command of us. It is highly unlikely the buyer/broker/surveyor is going to take responsibility if they damage it docking, running aground, or operating something incorrectly. I am not willing to be on the hook for that, nor for personal liability if they hurt themselves on something.

No way would I not be present for a sea trial. The sea trial isn't a ticket to a joy ride for the buyer. It isn't even necessary to leave protected waters or sail the boat more than put up the sails, make sure the boat steers and operates and all sailing equipment works, then pull them down and go home.

A buyer should not get to the point of a purchase agreement, escrow, and survey to figure out if the boat is going to meet their design, sailing and performance criteria. That is not the purpose of a sea trial.

Mark
 
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