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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.

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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.

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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.

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For sure the owner should not be present for the majority of the survey, unless their help is needed for something specific, and for sure the owner should expect to not have any part of the survey discussed with them. But the sea trial is different. This is a relatively short part of the survey, and the owner owns the boat and is responsible for its operation. The surveyor, buyer, and broker don't have to discuss any of the sea trial with the owner, - the owner just has to get the boat off the dock, make sure the equipment is operated properly, and get the boat back to the dock.

Would you as a surveyor take all responsibility for any damages or personal liability? Our insurance requires us on board during operation. If we aren't, then any damage isn't covered, so at a minimum we have to be onboard.

Besides, I trust no broker, buyer, or surveyor to have the skills to operate a complicated boat. It is unlikely they even know where many of the controls are.

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When we bought our boat the broker took care of everything. They brought the boat from it's home marina to the yard for the survey, and took us out for the sea trial, and then returned the boat to the home marina. The owner had no involvement whatsoever. We didn't even meet the owner until after the deal was done.

The broker takes full responsibility for the boat while they are showing it, and I am sure they are insured against any damage that might occur while the boat is in their care.

Keep in mind, by the time the deal gets to the sea trial stage there is already a signed sales agreement. It is not as if they are just on a joyride.

I don't think any responsible broker would allow the buyer to do something silly like hoisting the sails in heavy air. I don't think it is unreasonable to run the engine at full throttle as that will reveal a cooling system problem that otherwise could go unnoticed. I would be very suspicious if a seller who wouldn't allow that.

I believe the seller should keep their distance and let the broker do their job. Ideally they should not be present at all.

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I mostly agree. If the broker has insurance for damaging other people's boats, then I have no issue with them using it.

I made the point earlier that the sea trial was a relatively short part of the survey that was to check that all the gear worked. It is not an opportunity for the buyer to see if the boat is suitable for them wrt performance and handling, etc. So the sea trial would not involved a lot of tacking upwind, running spinnakers, getting a "feel" for the boat, etc.

The engines should absolutely be run at max throttle for a good period of time. In fact, this is pretty much 90% of what a sea trial constitutes.

The seller should keep their distance, but I disagree they shouldn't be present at all - unless they are comfortable with the broker's insurance coverage on their boat.

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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.
Should have told him to get lost. Really. It's not rude to expect to examine a potential purchase without any interference. In fact, the broker should have told him to get lost.

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This article on our website shows how we approach sea trials.
Sea Trial ... It ain't Just a Boat Ride
Yes, this is exactly how and what I expect a sea trial to be, and to be performed. You do mention you expect the owner or the owner's representative to be present for operating the boat. That was also my point.

I'm surprised that anyone would do a sea trial before the rest of the survey, but I suppose if the boat has to be delivered a distance to the survey haulout, then a sea trial during this time could kill two birds with one stone.

I'm also surprised anyone would have a sea trial without a surveyor or mechanic present. What would be the purpose?

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I think it would take more than 10-15sec. The point is to see where the temperature stabilizes, and to make sure it doesn't climb above spec, as well as to make sure revs are in spec. I would expect at least a minute if not a few of them. I don't understand why people are afraid to run their engines hard.

Again, my only concern about a sea trial is that I as a seller be on the boat to operate it. I have no problem running the engines at WOT for a time not exceeding the manufacturer's recommendation (which is like 20min or so).

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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:
Did you put the rail in the water? :p

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.

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). 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 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.

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.

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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.
Reschedule with a surveyor? As a buyer, I'd probably bulk at a sea trial with a surveyor, and another just for the seller to see if he likes sailing the boat.

Yes, I agree that 10-15kt is a good window, and doubt anyone would have a problem with that.

Would also run if the sellers refused to have the systems tested, like WOT for a practical time. As for sails, unless unusual claims are made, these are sold as is. A seller could say the dacron stretches too much, while the buyer says it does not. Without a sail survey by a professional, this is a tricky negotiation.

Motion, tacking, pounding, dry/wet, etc - one should understand this before making an offer. These are also highly subjective aspects. If I was the seller, and the buyer wanted to use a sea trial to determine these factors, I'd agree only if the buyer agreed to forfeit the escrow if they didn't meet expectations. It would tell me that the buyer did not do their homework. Otherwise I would let the sale fall through rather than keeping it off the market or letting the perception get out that the boat was failing sea trials.

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Governed WOT is "red line" on a diesel. The cooling systems (and rest of engine) are designed to operate within normal coolant temp range at WOT under load for a set amount of time. This time is usually in the operating manual, but is a reasonable amount of time - 20min to 2hrs depending on recreational engine model. If it is a commercial engine, then it can run there continuously. The temp will creep up under WOT, but should remain within operating specs.

For example, most gensets are operating at governed WOT, and many of these are operating 24/7.

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Most engine manufacturers state the WOT rpm, the amount of time the engine is allowed to operate there, and the recommended cruising operation (usually 70-80% of WOT). Engines are rated for how long they can operate at any given rpm. Recreational engines are not rated continuous duty, so they are derated for cruising rpm operation. Commercial engines are rated to operate continually at WOT. The difference is usually the cooling system and the governed speed.

Gensets, which use some of the same engines as for propulsion, are operated continually at WOT, and usually with larger loads than a propulsion engine sees.

There should be no fear of operation an engine at WOT for a significant time (ie, several minutes). I think most people fear this because they aren't used to hearing their engine at that speed and think it is tearing itself apart. I don't like to hear ours at WOT, but understand it isn't being damaged.

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As mentioned by someone earlier, running loaded at WOT can also show engine mount issues and cooling system leaks, among other things.

#3 isn't really a thing, since governed WOT is known for most engines.

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I have a 2012 Volvo D2-40. I pulled the following text from the manual.

The engines sections lists engine RPMs at 2800-3200 for D1-13, Dq-20, D1-30, and D2-40 engines. I typically cruise at 2200 rpm which puts me around 6.5kts in chop for a boat that has a theoretical hull speed of 7.6. I believe I have gotten a little over 7 kts at around 2500.
Yeah, I got the 500 delta number from our previous MD2030, which I remembered off hand. Your D2-40 is 400, and our current D2-55 is 300. I think the difference is the difference in governed rpm - 3600 for the MD2030, 3200 for the D2-40, and 3000 for the D2-55.

My point was that Volvo gives an operating range for WOT of within 10-13% of governed max rpm, not an absolute number, or one to get very close to. This allows the boat to be propped with a bit of leeway.

They also give these three engines a Category 5 rating, which states that they can operate at max rpm for up to 1 hour in every 12hrs of operation period. Otherwise they should not be run above 90% of full load engine speed.

So Volvo is fine with running WOT for 1hr.

Mark
 
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