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Old 11-10-2013, 21:07   #1
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Do You Need A Sea Trial?

I drove 450 miles to look at a boat. It looked good. The sails were crisp, looked new. The price was excellent. The engine started easily, and the noise, exhaust and sounds were good. The owner had declined to talk about the boat, told me to deal with the broker. The broker offered only generalizations.

I had the cash in my pocket, and made an offer subject to a sea trial. The broker refused to go out in the boat, saying he was no captain. The retired owner had "no time" to take it out, and said he'd jump not through hoops for that low price.Good price, pretty boat. I wanted it. Big temptation.

Then I remembered a soggy cushion below a portlight that the broker had claimed "didn't leak". The owner kept well in the background. I wanted the boat. The more I insisted on a sea trial, the more broker and owner refused, because of the low commission and the low price. I wanted that boat. No sea trial. I lusted for that boat.......but I walked away.

But ever after, I regretted not getting that beautiful boat....until yesterday.

I called the owner to see if he had reconsidered. He did not remember me, and tried to sell me the boat. A big point was the newly rebuilt engine. I asked why it was rebuilt. He said it was because the engine had been badly worn and lost compression. He said it was in great shape now. I just laughed and hung up. No more regrets! ! !

Do you need a sea trial? Decide for yourself.
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Old 11-10-2013, 21:29   #2
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Seatrial and survey. That is the only way to go unless there is a really good reason not to.
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Old 11-10-2013, 21:44   #3
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

Yes, unless its a very cheap boat. If youre only spending a couple of K, no problem you expect flaws. But if the price is into the tens of thousands, then definitely a sea trial is in order.

What sort of Broker cant sail a boat, or at least hasnt got someone nearby who can? That all seems a little sus to me.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:32   #4
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I regret not having a sea trial buying my boat. I bought the boat for a great price, but found things once on the water the survey missed. Theres is nothing like a sea trial to assess that systems are not only "serviceable" but also functioning.
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:32   #5
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

Gotta have a sea trial. Things that you can uncover by it:

"Wow, that's a lot of water coming in through the shaft seal when in gear."

"Hmmm, engine temp is spiking at 180, we're at 2200, and the boat isn't even making 4 knots."

"Oh wow, the halyard parted."

"It doesn't look normal for the traveller to lift up at that end when under load."

"Ugh, the windlass is shot."

"I guess the Navtec system needs fluid or the seals are shot."

"This furler must need a rebuild. Can't furl the genoa and it's not even blowing 5 knots."

I could go on and on...
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:02   #6
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

Years ago, I was very excited about a new boat (40 footer) being introduced by a New England (US) builder. We went to the Annapolis Sailboat Show to see the prototype and were very impressed.

We stayed around Annapolis after the show in order to sea trial the boat.
What a disaster!

With the builder and sales reps on board, we could never get a balanced helm, despite all our efforts. The boat handled terribly. The wheel was so heavy my wife couldn't steer it! I have never, either before or since, sailed such an unbalanced boat.

We were both surprised and disappointed. How could this happen on a modern, computer assisted design, especially one from a very famous designer?

Obviously, we walked away from the boat, but I would have never guessed what a pig this was from the plans, specs and a walk through.

The builder, by the way, went out of business in 2003 after 19 years of boat building.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:19   #7
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

never ever ever show enthusiasm when looking at a boat.
whenyou find something, ask how long has this been leaky. if they say it doesnt...chalk in another lie and keep going until you catch 3 lies. then say there is no way i can buy this boat in this condition.. i wouldnt pay more than xxxx dollars for it in this shape.
point out the rot point out the things you notice,and offer xxxx less than they want. if you find 5 things major wrong, start packing up your things you brought to leave.
if no sea trial and if they have audacity to suggest a surveyor, make sure you get a different surveyor. his could well be not open minded.
if a sea trial is refused,there is usually a really good reason for that..like the engine is failing or some such--mebbe packing gland is packing it, and leaks like a pig when under way due to misaligned engine or whatever reason.
you dun gud.
keep up the good work. you will get what you want.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:34   #8
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestathook View Post
I drove 450 miles to look at a boat. It looked good. The sails were crisp, looked new. The price was excellent. The engine started easily, and the noise, exhaust and sounds were good. The owner had declined to talk about the boat, told me to deal with the broker. The broker offered only generalizations.

I had the cash in my pocket, and made an offer subject to a sea trial. The broker refused to go out in the boat, saying he was no captain. The retired owner had "no time" to take it out, and said he'd jump not through hoops for that low price.Good price, pretty boat. I wanted it. Big temptation.

Then I remembered a soggy cushion below a portlight that the broker had claimed "didn't leak". The owner kept well in the background. I wanted the boat. The more I insisted on a sea trial, the more broker and owner refused, because of the low commission and the low price. I wanted that boat. No sea trial. I lusted for that boat.......but I walked away.

But ever after, I regretted not getting that beautiful boat....until yesterday.

I called the owner to see if he had reconsidered. He did not remember me, and tried to sell me the boat. A big point was the newly rebuilt engine. I asked why it was rebuilt. He said it was because the engine had been badly worn and lost compression. He said it was in great shape now. I just laughed and hung up. No more regrets! ! !

Do you need a sea trial? Decide for yourself.


Do a sea trial.

Get the best marine survey you can.

Also get an ENGINE survey. I didn't do that step; had to replace the engine on the boat the following August (started having lots of problems in April). We're pretty sure in my case that the susceptible parts of the engine were chewed up by electrolysis.

Make sure that boat that looks so good in the slip is good on the water. One of the club boats, for instance, sails fabulously on a port tack but siginificantly more slowly on a starboard tack. I don't claim to know why but I know I would want to know why if I were thinking about buying the bat.

I insisted on a sea trial. Again, the broker tried to block it but the owner was thrilled to be asked to show his beloved boat off (he ended up firing the broker, and since I had found the boat on Craigslist before he hired a broker, that was not a problem).

I was particularly concerned because a very opinionated peron (but someone whose opinions I generally value highly) said it was the wrong boat because it had swept-back spreaders and wouldn't sail downwind. So when we took it out, I asked him about that. You jybe down wind, and it's easy to jybe, not a bother at all. And ... I hate sailing straight downwind. It's hot and it's boring.

My advice? DON'T skip an engine survey. I did, and boy did it bite me.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:58   #9
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

if you know engines, necessary is as money does...i dont use engine surveys and never have.l i have been accurate 100 percent of time.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:38   #10
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Do a sea trial.

Get the best marine survey you can.

Also get an ENGINE survey. I didn't do that step; had to replace the engine on the boat the following August (started having lots of problems in April). We're pretty sure in my case that the susceptible parts of the engine were chewed up by electrolysis.

Make sure that boat that looks so good in the slip is good on the water. One of the club boats, for instance, sails fabulously on a port tack but siginificantly more slowly on a starboard tack. I don't claim to know why but I know I would want to know why if I were thinking about buying the bat.

I insisted on a sea trial. Again, the broker tried to block it but the owner was thrilled to be asked to show his beloved boat off (he ended up firing the broker, and since I had found the boat on Craigslist before he hired a broker, that was not a problem).

I was particularly concerned because a very opinionated peron (but someone whose opinions I generally value highly) said it was the wrong boat because it had swept-back spreaders and wouldn't sail downwind. So when we took it out, I asked him about that. You jybe down wind, and it's easy to jybe, not a bother at all. And ... I hate sailing straight downwind. It's hot and it's boring.

My advice? DON'T skip an engine survey. I did, and boy did it bite me.
If the engine is relatively new, runs well and has no untoward sounds, leaks, etc you may be okay with just the surveyor's opinion. To be certain, use a qualified mechanic.

Also, depending again on your surveyor, you may want/need a separate rigging survey, particularly on an older boat or one that has spent time in the tropics.

Finding a really good surveyor is a thread in itself!
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Old 12-10-2013, 13:38   #11
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Re: Do You Need A Sea Trial?

The previous owner was selling up because his eye sight was failing at 75 and he didn't feel confident sailing in the very busy water of the Solent. Since he didn't know me from Adam or even if I could sail, he chartered a professional skipper in for 1/2 a day to sail the yacht.

This was a brilliant move, it enabled me and the previous owner concentrate on all the boat systems without worrying about what was happening all around us. Given the cost I would have no hesitation in doing it again and even as the buyer paying for it.

A sea trial needs to be just that because you could be writing a big cheque next, so not a jolly around the harbour, its the buyers last chance so time needs to be used carefully.

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