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Old 18-08-2013, 15:51   #1
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Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

Hi,

I'm based in the UK.

I've had an offer accepted on a nice 2007 Úlan 434. I've had a couple of small powerboats before - this is my first yacht.

I have a question.... Do sea trial first or survey/inspection?

If i do inspection first i get to test any issues the inspection finds.

But if I do sea trial first... any problems on a sea trial first I can back out without spending on a survey or have it more deeply focussed by a survey.

Also the broker is using a UK association of brokers and yacht agents (ABYA) contract template. It makes sea-trial an optional formality at the end and doesn't seem to leave it as having much weight to negotiate over any issues - and therefore putting my deposit at risk.

The RYA one seems to be a little more balanced. Wish I could see an example BMF one.

Thanks all - this is my first post!
Charlie
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Old 18-08-2013, 16:20   #2
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pirate Re: Survey 1st, or sea-trial?

Hi Charlie... 1st may I Welcome you to CF..
Do the sea trial first.. that will tell you a lot... give the engine a good run 1st... 1/2 - 1hr at least and run her at max rev's for 15mins or so underway and see what comes outa the back... check the bilges before you go out... dry them if necessary... then check them when you get back in... look up the line of the mast and see if it bends either way under sail... check for slack in the steering.. you'll feel it kinda click if there's wear before she bites..
Then do the survey if your happy... don't let the owner distract you with blather... ask him to shut the hell up if you have to... your the buyer.. the man with the dosh he wants... or.. he pays yard fees for another winter..
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Old 18-08-2013, 17:31   #3
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Re: Survey 1st, or sea-trial?

No experience with yacht purchases in the UK. But here in the US I prefer the offer to be subject to buyers approval of the seatrial and leave this till last. Then if you need a reason to back out, you can always not approve the seatrial based on the how the boat sails. The survey is going to tell you a lot. After the survey you can be especially careful to look at anything thing that might make you uneasy that was brought up by the survey or not inspected during the survey.
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Old 18-08-2013, 17:38   #4
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pirate Re: Survey 1st, or sea-trial?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
No experience with yacht purchases in the UK. But here in the US I prefer the offer to be subject to buyers approval of the seatrial and leave this till last. Then if you need a reason to back out, you can always not approve the seatrial based on the how the boat sails. The survey is going to tell you a lot. After the survey you can be especially careful to look at anything thing that might make you uneasy that was brought up by the survey or not inspected during the survey.
Most deals work subject to Survey... I'd rather find out if it sails like a piece of crap before the expense of the lift and survey... if I like her and the engines good get the survey..
Surveyors don't do much more than start an engine... if your lucky.." It starts.. your good to go.."
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Old 19-08-2013, 05:40   #5
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Thanks for the thoughts all! We pushed the broker (despite protestations of changing a standard contract) and he complied eventually. Will let u know how it goes!
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Old 19-08-2013, 07:42   #6
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Re: Survey 1st, or sea-trial?

Surveyors I have dealt with wanted to be aboard for the sea trial. Usually done on the way to haul out.
Makes sense to me.
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Old 19-08-2013, 09:09   #7
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Re: Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

When picking a surveyor it's important to check his background, I'm not sure about the UK but here in the states there are several organizations which set standards for surveyors, it's a good place to start. Also the internet is a wonderful thing, Googling the surveyors full name and title as well as business name will bring a boatload of info, especially if it's not good, people only tend to get on the soapbox if their upset.
A good surveyor will pick up things that most average owners would not, a poor one isn't worth the oxygen he breathes.
My most recent experience on a yacht we purchased was good, but I did an extensive background check on the individual, inspected the boat myself and let him know I had done so. It worked out well and the survey was accurate.
On the other hand a friend of mine had a poor experience with a surveyor, he didn't properly vet him prior to the survey and it showed. Just one example, the surveyor stated that he had tested the radar and it worked fine, which would be plausible if the radar had been installed at the time, it wasn't, the mast was off and the radar is backstay mounted, not only was it not mounted but we found that the yard had cut the cable off at the radar dome when pulling the mast. There were a whole list of other issues which were plainly evident that he didn't see, unfortunately my friend didn't ask me to look the boat over until after he bought it, it only took me about an hour to find about a dozen issues, some major (leaking fuel tank), some minor (most of the electronics didn't work without debugging the wiring), so I'm not sure just what that surveyor did. Maybe he just drove by and took a picture?
The gentleman who surveyed my recently acquired yacht was extremely professional and found all the issues I had spotted and also had the equipment to do further inspections I was unable to do. It was thorough and well done.
If your not familiar with sailboats, by all means, hire a surveyor, there are far too many problems that could cost you thousands to repair, just make sure you properly vet the ability of the surveyor you hire.
As always take any advice with a grain of salt, I've gotten some really bad advice from "professionals" in the past, it's your money, spend it wisely.
In the US it would eventually require a survey to get insurance once the boat was purchased anyway.
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Old 19-08-2013, 09:23   #8
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Re: Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

Hi All,

I just went through this (going through at the moment). We went for our sea trial Saturday. That was the defining decision for me to proceed spending a sizeable amount of cash for a survey and haul out. If I would have been dissatisfied with the boat or found something really bad on my own (like a motor seizing up) I could back out and not loose a dime.

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Old 19-08-2013, 09:35   #9
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Re: Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

This is one of those questions about which the internet expects try to one-up each other with their wisdom.

Do both the survey and trial concurrently. Problem solved.
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Old 19-08-2013, 09:40   #10
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Re: Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

Our surveys and sea trials have been concurrent. Our surveyors used info learned during the sea trial stage to evaluate systems. They weren't evaluating whether we'd like the ride.

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Old 19-08-2013, 10:06   #11
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Re: Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

In the US it's most often done survey first. You are more likely to find a deal breaking issue in the survey; wet deck core, wet hull core, evidence of major repair, severe blisters etc etc. The sea trial is to see if the propulsion runs well, that there are no design defects when sailing, and condition of the sailing gear. Before making an offer you probably have a good idea about the sails and propulsion.
But whatever works for you is fine. In fact, if the boat is in the water, you may end up rejecting the boat based on survey issues before even having to pay to haul it. If it's in the water, you could certainly do the sea trial first to avoid haulout fees if the sea trial doesnt go well.
PS: there are boats out there with severe design issues.... severe weather helm etc. So if you are considering an unknown design, you need to get out in some wind.
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Old 19-08-2013, 11:41   #12
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Re: Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

I might have tried the combined effort, except neither of the brokers I've worked with suggested that... should have gone to the internet first. Oh well, nothing lost, maybe a weeks worth of time the boat could be mine... or not.
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Old 19-08-2013, 11:52   #13
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We also bought a boat in the UK

We did survey on the hard, followed by sea trial in which the surveyor was aboard and check thinks while underway which actually resulted in a mor specific follow up survey of the engine and rig by specialist in those two areas.
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Old 19-08-2013, 13:38   #14
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Re: Survey 1st, or Sea-Trial?

I dont suggest it as a preplanned tactic, but always be ready to walk away.... I know it gets hard after spending a bunch of money on survey etc... Once I negotiated a price on a boat that had sat unused and showed it. The neg price was $105k, the survey was pretty bad and I hesitated, essentially saying I was not going to go forward. Long story short, I was asked what I would pay and we settled on 65k. That's a big difference.... turns out I was lucky I only paid that much, but it was also one of my favorite boats and in the end i mad money on it.
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