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Yes, I would be present for a sea trial. For one thing, I can operate my boat more smoothly than any stanger, since I know her systems better. I will make her look better. If you don't want to be involved in a negotiation, don't talk.

And yes, if you refused to let me sail the boat hard, you just told me what I need to know. I'm walking. While I should not be allowed to do anything dangerous during a seatrial, full RPMs and sailing with the rail in the water are normal for a test, and if you think your boat is too fragile for that, then tell me that up front. Otherwise, I'll assume you are a liar.

30 knots is a bit much, but my last sea trail was in 20-25 and reefed. I bought the boat. Certainly anything up to 1 reef is reasonable, unless you believe the boat can't handle that....:sneaky:
 

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I suspect most sea trials are conducted in benign conditions... not challenging ones.

What do you want to learn in a sea trial? Be specific
Be specific? You know, of course, that the list would be long.

  • Will the engine run WOT for at least 15 minutes without overheating? The OP thought this was unfair, but I think this is a TOTALLY FAIR test. I can't imagine not running the engine at WOT for a time. That's why you are there.
  • What is the sail shape under a real wind load? Do they point and how is the helm? You can't judge the drive and helm in light conditions. Polyester sails often look good until the wind blows.
  • Does the furler work smoothly in the wind (no, this is not the same as in light conditions)? They can be fine at the dock, but friction from failed bushings and bearings is only revealed under some load. Furling in 10 knots up wind (instead of off the wind like a seaman) is enough.
Then, there are boat-specific details that in theory you could already know, but not all boats are common with reliable reviews:
  • Does she pound? Specific to cats, does the bridge deck pound going to weather?
  • How does she motor into the wind? Many outboad-driven boats will cavitate, others will not.
  • How is the motion? The numbers don't tell you everything.
  • How does she tack (this is an issue with many cats, but all boats to some extent)?
  • Is she dry or wet?
A sea trial in zero-to-nothing is very nearly a waste of time. I would reschedule, and have.

No, I'm not suggesting a near gale, but 10-15 knots is a good window. But you don't really get to pick and choose, since these things are scheduled. Might be a little more, and that's when you see how good she is. What I am saying that is some buyers will walk if you require she be babied during trials. We'll smell a rat and run.
 

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Did you put the rail in the water? :p

I did get a hull nearly out of the water (cruising cat), so yes, the multihull equivalent.

Since one does not normally pick the weather on the day of the sea trial, and the boat may be located an impractical distance from open sailing waters, one cannot expect to sail the boat hard on a sea trial.

Oh yes I can expect a good trail in open water. Motoring around a harbor is a waste of time.


For example, the last boat we sold was surveyed 16nm up a river with a large tidal flow (closest marina within 100nm that could haul the boat). Yup, that is different. It is unreasonable to expect to travel 3hrs to open water, sail around, then 3hrs back to the yard. Besides, there was no wind the day of the survey (Yes, that is the luck of the draw. I might accept that or I might reschedule. 10-day forecasts are pretty good.) if we did travel to open water. We went out on the river for an hour, did the engine tests, raised all the sails, worked the winches, etc.

Absent a one-off design, one should already have an understanding of how the boat sails before making an offer. The sea trial is to show that the systems work and are sound. (Obviously. But the OP implied "no WOT." That is a reasonable test. Regarding multihulls, many are not common.)

It is more difficult for a surveyor to assess sea trial points while sailing and motoring into 25kt winds and accompanying seas than in calmer conditions. Sorry? But as you pointed out, there will usually be flat water in the harbor and approaches, so generally a minor issue. But I understand and accept your point for some locations.

IME, it is usually a seller that has a boat that either he knows or may have faults that will be by rigorous testing.


Mark
 
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