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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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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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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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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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Buyer visits the boat with a broker... Probably owner is there to answer questions.
I flew to the MidWest to see a boat on the Great Lakes and the owner met the broker and I at their indoor storage yard. The owner absolutely sucked the air out of the room, telling me how great everything was they had done to the boat. A very friendly guy, but didn't want us to miss any little detail he was proud of. I think we had to stand next to the dinghy and listen to a speech on it for 5 minutes. I swear he was more proud of his dinghy than the mother ship itself. OOOPH.

I left that viewing feeling like I couldn't do what I went to do. If I opened anything, I got a 10 minute story. I think most owners would make this mistake, because it's too personal and they don't know how to sell.
 

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Now, after the sale, I wouldn't mind sitting down with the previous owner to hear his stories.
That’s an important point. You want a positive relationship with your prior owner, because they have knowledge you’ll need. If they feel threatened or criticized, they are fairly likely to go radio silent. I’ve always had a nice relationship with prior owners. Makes it hard to take a critical look at the boat and nurture that relationship.
 

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Abuse and other unacceptable behaviors aside, we’re not talking about a stranger going for a joy ride on ones boat, as we currently know it. You’ve decided to sell, you've agreed to a price, received a signed contract and a deposit. This quick ride is the absolute last physical thing standing between you and a done deal.

I’m not suggesting any of us would let the sea trial occur in an unsafe or incompetent way. However, at this stage of the sale, I think most would be far more accommodating than in the moment before agreeing to sell.

If the prospective buyer wanted to wash the boat before that sea trial, I bet we’d all let them. :)
 

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You only need to run at wide open throttle long enough to record RPM, STW, temperature, charger from alternator and fuel flow, if it’s available. That would not take a full minute. 10-15 seconds should be plenty. My last survey recorded this at each 100 RPM starting at about 60% of max rated.
 

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If one hammers from cruise to WOT, it may take longer to stabilize. Not the way to test an engine. You make several incremental steps and those will not each take a minute to stabilize.
 

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what is learned by running engine at full rpm.
Will it make max rated RPM, for starters. Not all boats will, which can be a symptom of the wrong prop pitch or an engine problem. Could, be an issue with the tach or it’s wiring too, so confirming RPM with a laser tach is the best method. Does she overheat too.

sailing with the rail in the water
I see you clarified this in a subsequent post. It’s the buyer’s right to say they’ll need this, but I’d be happy kicking that buyer to the curb. It’s unnecessary, IMO, to determine system functionality. The sea trail is not a joy ride and I would not be convinced the buyer wasn’t just playing. They can play all they want, after the check clears.
 

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I still have the original prop.. so hard to conceive if is not proper design.
Sure, but the survey is designed to confirm it, not take your word for it.

no one pushes a motor passed the red line to WOT and I can't imagine the cooling system is designed for those operating temps.
Which red line are you talking about, rpm, temp, pressure? In any event, the engine should operate within them all at WOT, which is the point of testing it. Not sure why that doesn’t make sense.

don't know what this demonstrates about the motor.
It’s but one indicator of the health of the motor and drive train. Simple. Just because you can make hull speed does not mean the engine, transmission and gear are necessarily fine. If any of these had too much back pressure, there may still be sufficient excess HP to get to hull speed, but it would be taking a slow toll on the entire system.
 

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Feels like the argument is going in circles. The fact that you don't need to normally run at WOT has absolutely nothing to do with why one is testing the health of the engine by doing so. It's been explained several times above, you even quoted something from the internet that explained.

Get the manual for your engine and check for an operating limitation at WOT, after break-in. I bet you don't find one, you're just using your imagination.
 

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Here's another reason for WOT. One's boat may run nice and smoothly at 60-80% of WOT, but feel like it wants to rattle out of the boat at WOT, due to misaligned drive train, old soft engine mounts, bent shaft, etc, etc.
 

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There is an operating manual for every engine and they state WOT rpm. When you push the throttle fully forward, it should reach nearly that exact RPM, maybe +/- 50rpm. Just running smoothly at WOT isn’t the point.
 

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I don't think running it up to WOT, while tied to a dock, is the same as being underway. The momentum of the boat will reduce load on the prop a little. The prop is pitched for being underway. Kinda of like starting to peddle in a high gear, after a few turns it's a bit easier. Not terribly surprising that a cleat let go.
 

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The Tachometer on a diesel may not be accurate.
That's right, one should buy a laser tach. They are not expensive at all. You put a reflective piece of tape on one of the external rotating parts of the engine. The crankshaft pulley often has a weight on the outside, with a flat space. Point the small laser at it, while moving, and it instantly counts the rotations by the reflection going by.
 
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