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Old 06-06-2014, 04:54   #1
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How to conduct sea trial?

I am looking at spending (for me) a large chunk of cash buying a 2nd-hand steel cruising Yacht.
Seems in very good condition; owner built by a " perfectionist ".

I am heading out for a test sail before survey.

I have bought 5 wooden yachts over the years : my first cost me much time and very much money to prove to myself I had sadly bought a Beautiful Dud.

I got better over my life - better choosing both sail boats & wives.

My question (s) " How to most usefully conduct a ' test sail ' / sea trial" ?

My ideas ... begin early on a calm morning
Have a notebook to write down everything the man (owner) wanting my cash says

- anchor up & down ?
All sails up & down ?
"Put in all reefs "

carefully examine rigging / tuning ... symmetrical ?

Motor - run at cruising speed both forward and astern
run underway for 20 mins - check exhaust / oil
(note engine revs & reading of 'random-number generator' (Knot metre)

run at full speed for 15 mins - check exhaust / oil
(note engine revs & reading of 'random-number generator' (Knot metre)


Later in day when the sea breeze has built - would like to have full sail up and 25 kts breeze - check for weather helm . Check how she stands up - reaching ... running ? What angle 'made good ' hard on the wind.

The vessel looks like brand new. The owner speaks so much of my philosophy ; simple - rugged - small ports, few thru-hulls

The biggest concern I have is that he says he "modified" the design ?? Says he added extra thick steel plate for the bottom Chine. Says that is the only modification.

open to suggestions / questions / comments
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:16   #2
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

I'd get me one of the inexpensive point and shoot thermometer and use if on the engine during those runs looking for the same coolant temp / oil temp / water pump / alternator at cruising RPM and full throttle, plus I'd use it on any electric motor, like fridge compressor, windlass etc.

I only sea trialed a couple, but both were overpropped. I haven't yet done anything about the one I bought yet. seems common?

Look hard at anything owner installed, especially the wiring, yours is going to be a whole lot more difficult as it's either owner built or custom?

I'm not much of a sailor yet, so I go with what I know, electrical and mechanicals, but I believe if you find stupid stuff done with any system, the stupidity will continue with anything the PO has touched.
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:45   #3
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

Rule #1: Accept No Mysteries!
Determine the cause(s) of, and solution(s) to, anything that confounds or worries you.

Some general advice for evaluating any of your observations, survey reports, or answers to your questions:
1. Take any positive observations/comments/answers with a grain of salt.
2. Take any inconclusive observations/comments/answers as negative.
3. Take any negative observations/comments/answers to the bank.
4. Accept no mysteries.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:26   #4
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Rule #1: Accept No Mysteries!
Determine the cause(s) of, and solution(s) to, anything that confounds or worries you.

Some general advice for evaluating any of your observations, survey reports, or answers to your questions:
1. Take any positive observations/comments/answers with a grain of salt.
2. Take any inconclusive observations/comments/answers as negative.
3. Take any negative observations/comments/answers to the bank.
4. Accept no mysteries.
And forget the calm day. Go when it's blowing 20-25 knots, and just do the other stuff inside the harbor.

And expect the surveyor to miss about 1/2 of the problems, as they may be incipient or somehow obscured. Not necessarily his, fault, just allow twice as much money. For every fault that is found, there is another.
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Old 06-06-2014, 19:15   #5
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
if you find stupid stuff done with any system, the stupidity will continue with anything the PO has touched.

That's one of the best ways to evaluate a boat. Mine is a simple boat but it took weeks to redo incompetant work riddled throughout . Still was a good buy doing the work myself. If you have to pay for the work to be done, tripple the estimate and judge if it's worth it.
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Old 06-06-2014, 21:25   #6
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

you will be lucky to get more than 2 hours on the water. I have always specified a reasonable wind range for a sea trial 10 to 15 TWS so i can see if the boat i am buying is a dog or not. Running the engine at full revs, checking electrics etc can be down in a dead calm - but it won't tell you if you will enjoy sailing the boat or not - so specify a TWS range - if you don't have that on the trial that make it a requirement that you go out another day with the sellers broker when the conditions are right - you don't need the surveyor with you for the second trip.
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Old 06-06-2014, 21:42   #7
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

I'd suggest an engine oil analysis performed by the manufacturuer as well as vibration analysis on the drive train to ensure a true running shaft. The rest you already know or has been suggested in previous posts. Good luck... Phil
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:44   #8
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

When I had my 36.7 up for sale I allowed the (eventual) buyer to go out with the broker for a short sail. After he made an offer and had a survey done he did the "real" sea trial. Anyone else get a test sail without first spending $$$ for the survey?
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Old 07-06-2014, 13:03   #9
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Re: How to conduct sea trial?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scare_Rab View Post

Later in day when the sea breeze has built - would like to have full sail up and 25 kts breeze - check for weather helm . Check how she stands up - reaching ... running ? What angle 'made good ' hard on the wind.

...

Static (dock side) and dynamic (undersail, both tacks) check of the rig & rigging.


Sounds like the plan is just you and the owner, which I think is better than a hired captain for the sea trial assuming a knowledgeable buyer/surveyor aboard. I've been hired by broker/owners who I knew to run sea trials. That's an awkard situation for the captain and not ideal for the buyer.

One boat was an absolute POS, going at a POS price, and the naive Buyers thought they were going to fix it up and make a profit. Broker was a friend of mine. I mostly just tried to keep my mouth shut since I was just hired to run the boat not survey it.
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