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Old 14-11-2012, 05:04   #31
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

Before you leave the dock - look in the bilges and the engine compartment........and then have a look after you return (if not before)......being wet is not a good sign.

Ideally have the owner onboard - and when he opens up the engine hatch pre-departure have him talk you through the engine compartment. If he looks unsure of which bit is the engine that''ll tell ya far more about the engine maintainence history than any Engineers inspection!
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Old 14-11-2012, 07:36   #32
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

Re: Dock Trials
Below is the Dock Trial check list I used for my last boat before using the Sea Trial check list previous listed. These were done at the builders site over a several month period.

Dock Trials Checklist
I. Equipment Tests
  1. Bilge plant including wiring to the bilge pumps, switches, fuses, high water bilge
    alarms, etc. Check bilge pumps for automatic operation by allowing fresh water into each watertight compartment. At least 20 cycles should be run. Note that the float switches begin operation at the right level and that they allow the pumps to such the compartments relatively dry. Check out high-water alarms at the same time, and be sure the manual overrides on the pumps work properly. Also, the manual bilge pumps should be operated to see that their location is easy to use in all conditions.
  2. Fire fighting system and alarms
  3. Safety equipment including Coast Guard safety package, Horns, flares, life
    jackets, bell, etc.
  4. Fuel system including location of tanks, verification of ability to access/remove
    tanks for servicing, feed lines, fuel pumps and wiring for fuel pumps, dual Racor fuel filters, vacuum gauges, water detector, purifiers, tank tenders, and “Fail-Soft Fuel Installation” system.
  5. Engage prop to confirm controls are working correctly. The steering system should be run hard over to hard over for 40 cycles by hand and then by autopilot, with the motors in gear at half-throttle. Be sure the emergency tiller is stowed in a handy spot and that it operates without obstructions.
  6. Electrolysis tests
  7. Windlasses and windlass control switches, both on deck and remote, are
    operational, check fusing and power feed. Check that anchors and rodes are ready. Ground tackle should be tried out and checked to make sure the anchors stow without damaging the boat and that the chain flakes down by itself without having to knock down chain piles.
  8. Sanitary system including holding tanks and gauges, Y valves for manual pump out, double hose clamping, etc.
  9. Galley, domestic equipment and systems.
  10. Calibration of all tanks, both fuel and water
  11. Inspection for 316 Stainless Steel deck fittings and screws and bolts, including
    screws for the rub rail
  12. Priming, pumping and endurance tests for all pumps and piping systems. Check all
    hose clamps.
  13. Hot and cold fresh water system including deck wash down and deck shower
    system. Leaks? Fill and then empty freshwater tanks at least 3 times. Check all connections for leaks. Note that automatic pressure switches work for shut off and that heat sensors shut down the pump when tanks are empty and the pump is running dry.
  14. Hydraulic systems, specifically steering and autopilot.



  1. Refrigeration and freezer system using temp probes and leak detectors. Check for proper mechanical placement and venting of air exhaust. The system should be pulled down and then cycled on a daily basis during the entire trial period but for at least a week. Note the time it takes for pull-down aftger the first cycle, and check for frost on the suction line outside the box. Watch for compressor knocking due to liquid coolant, and check the sight glass to be sure the right amount of coolant is in the system. At end of trials check for coolant leaks.
  2. Navigation and signaling lights; tri-color, running, steaming, deck, boom, cockpit, and stern spots.
  3. Monitoring/alarms and automation systems; fire, bilge, genset, water in fuel alarms, engine overheat and oil pressure, etc.
  4. All sail handling equipment, e.g. blocks and winches are properly placed and correct sizes. Roller-furling gear should be checked at least 12 times to be sure that it rolls neatly and the rope leads onto and off the roller drum properly. Check hoisting to be sure the halyard swivel runs smoothly.
  5. Electrical system including, batteries, charging, inverter, genset, labeling of wires, AC and DC electrical outlets, etc. All electrical gear cycled on and off. Check for ground faults and/or shorts or leakages.
  6. Identify exceptions to ABYC electrical standards.
  7. Check that equipment installation has been properly carried out and that all the
    components and accessories have been correctly fitted
  8. Check that individual components such as switches, lighting equipment, fans,
    pumps, etc. work properly
  9. All tanks and pipelines are to be properly cleaned out and flushed through before
    any trials are commenced.
  10. All floor board and cabinets close, open and lock correctly.
  11. Standing and running rigging – check cotter keys, the static tune on the rig,
    turnbuckles are seized with line.
  12. Check all through hull fittings, prop shafts and rudder quadrant connections.
  13. Leak test all hatches and portlights. Hard rain is best test, otherwise every fitting,
    hatch, and port at the deck level should be deluged with a heavy-duty hose. A high-pressure wash down is even better. Inside the boat, all lockers and other storage areas should be empty. Placing paper towels in each likely leak spot to check for leaks.
  14. Electrical and electronic gear, first run each piece of equipment individually to be sure they operate properly, then run them all together to check for interference. Miscellaneous gear such as fans and lights should be operated for at least 2 hours a day for at least 3 days. Turn gear on and off at least 12 times a day to see if there are warm-up problems.



  1. Engine Tests
    1. Run motors in forward gear for 2 hours each at 25%, 50%, and 75% of full
      throttle. Then run another 2 hours in reverse gear at 33% of full throttle. Watch for
      vibration, shaft alignment and prop noise and vibration.
    2. While the motors are being tested the genset can also be tested. Run it under load
      for 2 hours each at 50%, 75%, and 100% of capacity. Note engine, oil, and water readings and coolant flow. If an automatic shut-down is provided in case of heat or oil pressure failure, simulate that requirement to make sure the system works. Batteries are to be discharged and recharged. Obtain checklist from genset manufacturer to use for these tests.
    3. Check genset room for temperature stabilization and proper ventilation and air flow. Leaks? Good water flow and bed tension.
    4. Check electric motor rooms for temperature stabilization and proper ventilation and air flow.
  2. Does the boat float where expected?
Any defects found during dock trials shall be rectified before proceeding to Sea Trials.
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Old 14-11-2012, 08:15   #33
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

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Originally Posted by gosstyla View Post
Then run another 2 hours in reverse gear at 33% of full throttle. Watch for vibration, shaft alignment and prop noise and vibration.
Really? You want to run the engine in reverse at 33% throttle for two hours at the dock?

What's that second hour going to tell you that the first hour didn't? As a matter of fact, what will you learn in the first hour that you didn't learn in the first ten minutes?
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Old 14-11-2012, 09:39   #34
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

Quote:
Originally Posted by gosstyla View Post
Re: Dock Trials
Below is the Dock Trial check list I used for my last boat before using the Sea Trial check list previous listed. These were done at the builders site over a several month period.
SNIP
Windlasses and windlass control switches, both on deck and remote, are
  1. operational, check fusing and power feed. Check that anchors and rodes are ready. Ground tackle should be tried out and checked to make sure the anchors stow without damaging the boat and that the chain flakes down by itself without having to knock down chain piles.
  1. Refrigeration and freezer system using temp probes and leak detectors. Check for proper mechanical placement and venting of air exhaust. The system should be pulled down and then cycled on a daily basis during the entire trial period but for at least a week. Note the time it takes for pull-down aftger the first cycle, and check for frost on the suction line outside the box. Watch for compressor knocking due to liquid coolant, and check the sight glass to be sure the right amount of coolant is in the system. At end of trials check for coolant leaks.
SNIP

  1. Any defects found during dock trials shall be rectified before proceeding to Sea Trials.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but my last sea trials were on a boat that was at a mooring ball, not a dock. In fact the last few boats I have looked at were on mooring balls.


I am also not sure how realistic it is to spend a week checking out the refrigeration system, less yet spend several months using your dock check list.


Lots of boats have an issue with pushing over the chain pile, not to say I am over joyed with this but it certainly would not be something I would expect to be corrected or that it even could be corrected or that it would preclude me from buying a boat.


At some point most folks realize they will not be able to buy a perfect boat. They also realize there will be things that go wrong and will need to be fixed.


Normally I come down on the side of an extensive inspection and sea trials, but some of the posts here have made me reconsider how much the seller should have to bend to the will of the buyer.
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Old 14-11-2012, 09:47   #35
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post

I have had to use this manuever in a docking situation in Nassau. Current was running very fast and once I was in the marina I was committed. Moving with the current at probably 6 knots into a slip, I had to have the engine fairly fast in forward to have any steerage, then had to go to emergency stop once in the slip. Talk about panic! The boat stopped perfectly (thanks Maxprop!) to the cheers of the various dockhands... whose eyes were big as saucers!
The Captain Ron Docking Maneuver!
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Old 14-11-2012, 19:22   #36
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
There are ways to perform sea trials that do not damage or endanger the vessel. As an owner I would never allow a sea trial without my presence aboard.
Totally Agree, there is a balance and as an Owner my concerns are the same as Insequents

If you have put down a serious deposit subject to inspection and trials, tests still need to be non-destructive, efficient and should not scare the Seller.

I think the value of this Thread is to identify practical Tips so that they can be done subtly as per DOJ’s and my figure 8 test.

One other Tip, is that I never accept the Seller or Broker’s Inventory List since it is always incomplete and when you ask about something left out, their reply is; “ Well we can list everything!”

My solution before going on to Trials and after detail inspection and my own inventory is:
“Ok, please now provide me with a complete list of items presently on board that will not be part of the sale inventory”

It becomes a much smaller list and identifies anything the Seller wants to take for his next boat, or some favorite tools. (Things like extra binocs/spare compass/ are stuff that falls into grey areas and best to sort that out before incurring trial costs)

It is these little things that often make a good buying experience go sour
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Old 14-11-2012, 19:36   #37
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Really? You want to run the engine in reverse at 33% throttle for two hours at the dock?

What's that second hour going to tell you that the first hour didn't? As a matter of fact, what will you learn in the first hour that you didn't learn in the first ten minutes?
Bash, Tomfl, those Dock Tests are for a New Build, pretty standard and are also for the benefit of the Builder to identify fit out problems that are easy to fix at the dock, before Sea Trials.

New Build Astern tests are not just checking Temps, but testing and wearing in shaft seals / Engine-Shaft alignment / prop cavitation and inspecting all drive train mounts

Thanks for the list gosstyla…… If practical some of those I would do for buying a used boat, but to a lesser extent as Bash queried
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Old 14-11-2012, 19:43   #38
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

A list of what doesn't stay is worthwhile, it should not be all that long.

When I bought the 84yo PO arranged for a couple of his sons to meet him at the dock to remove personal stuff. They got there an hour early and when he arrived said 'its all done'.

I spent a bit of time chatting with the PO both on the boat and at his house nearby. Two points - after I had been on the boat for a couple of hours the PO figured I knew more about it than his sons. I spent time for a few trips over the next week returning 80% of the stuff the PO's sons had removed. Including flybridge seat cushion and similar kind of stuff that had little use other than where it was meant to be on the boat.

Recently we checked the chip screens in the gearboxes. On seeing metal flakes there they were pulled, and have just been rebuilt. The guy said he had never seen such a mess of stripped gears after <2000 hours use. The likely cause? Some sons who know nothing about boats changing gears without reducing throttle.

So add a question to your checklist: Ask the owner, do your kids use the boat much?
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Old 14-11-2012, 20:13   #39
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

For any of those contemplating buying a New Build, here is a small snippet of a standard large Yacht Spec dealing with QC
Attached Files
File Type: doc SECTION 1.doc (29.5 KB, 150 views)
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Old 14-11-2012, 20:26   #40
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

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Originally Posted by Insequent View Post
A list of what doesn't stay is worthwhile, it should not be all that long.

..... I spent time for a few trips over the next week returning 80% of the stuff the PO's sons had removed.....

So add a question to your checklist: Ask the owner, do your kids use the boat much?
Sounds typical, what I found after helping a few friends buy their boats, is a tendency for either Seller or family stripping the boat of items not specified. Quite often it is because they feel they sold it too cheap, when the negotiated price is reached?

My approach did away with that, before it became an issue.

Good point about the kids,bit delicate but also, what about the wife taking it out…? ..
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Old 14-11-2012, 23:22   #41
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

Just my opinion, but it seems the majority of members posting in this thread are not very well attached to the reality of buying a used cruising sail/motor boat. These massive lists of well-intentioned, but wholly impractical and even harmful and destructive "tests" are simply not going to be allowed to happen by the seller. And if you attempt to do a lot of these tests you may find yourself being thrown over the side if you are lucky or sued for damaging the boat if not.

You hire an experienced surveyor to go over the boat and use his years of experience to evaluate the condition and operation of the boat. The surveyor normally goes along on the sea trial where you get a chance to "observe" how the boat operates and sails in normal operation.

Having the knowledge to "self-survey" the boat goes a long way to finding anything that may be non-functional that the surveyor may have missed. But you will not be able to "lay your hands" on the boat until you actually buy it.

The seller or his professional captain will operate the boat during any sea trials unless the boat is a very small, very old day-sailor type boat. Sea trials rarely last more than an hour or two "underway." Any poking about should be done before the sea trial and although you can poke your head into anyplace on/in the boat you want, you will most likely be told to not touch anything.
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Old 15-11-2012, 06:30   #42
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

Perhaps not an item on a sea trial list but I will add this anyway.

I joined CF in April shortly after I had started searching for a boat. I got some interesting advice about which boat seemed to best meet what I listed as my needs.

While looking at different boats for about six months I have only seriously considered two, really only one since the C24 was a great boat but a little small. Both of these boats have owners who were very honest about their boats. While there may be exceptions, in most cases the boat owner knows more about the boat than anyone else.

I learned a lot about these boats from the owners, and the owner's wife in the second case. Tips like keeping the head free of odor, flaking the chain under the windless, securing the chain to protect the windless are just a few of the things that helped convince me which boat to buy.

On the other hand I have seen some posts attributed to owners along the lines of paying to even inspect the boat and lots of other unrealistic, at least to me, limitations when looking at a boat.

A knowledgeable and honest owner can point out things that even the best and longest sea trial might miss.

On a different note I have no experience buying a new yacht/boat. But in addition to the traditional definition of yacht (e.g. a word only used when selling a boat or hitting on a hot babe) I would add that any new boat requiring running the engine two hours or more at the dock is a yacht.
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Old 15-11-2012, 17:20   #43
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Just my opinion, but it seems the majority of members posting in this thread are not very well attached to the reality of buying a used cruising sail/motor boat. These massive lists of well-intentioned, but wholly impractical and even harmful and destructive "tests" are simply not going to be allowed to happen by the seller. And if you attempt to do a lot of these tests you may find yourself being thrown over the side if you are lucky or sued for damaging the boat if not.

You hire an experienced surveyor to go over the boat and use his years of experience to evaluate the condition and operation of the boat. The surveyor normally goes along on the sea trial where you get a chance to "observe" how the boat operates and sails in normal operation.

Having the knowledge to "self-survey" the boat goes a long way to finding anything that may be non-functional that the surveyor may have missed. But you will not be able to "lay your hands" on the boat until you actually buy it.

The seller or his professional captain will operate the boat during any sea trials unless the boat is a very small, very old day-sailor type boat. Sea trials rarely last more than an hour or two "underway." Any poking about should be done before the sea trial and although you can poke your head into anyplace on/in the boat you want, you will most likely be told to not touch anything.
Hi Orissal, I think there is more than one way to skin the cat to achieve the confidence needed to complete a sizeable purchase of used equipment.
On a larger used boat it is common for the deposited buyer to spend a week on board, carefully examining every component and qualifying the inventory.

Agreed on trials the Seller runs the boat and you or your surveyor inspect the components and request maneuvers (like lowering and raising anchors).

It is not as restricted as you imply….. And if it is, that usually means they have something to hide!

The value of this thread is to help define trails and tests, that a potential buyer should understand
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Old 15-11-2012, 18:58   #44
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

I guess we do things differently in Florida, USA. "Spending a week onboard . . ." Nah! . . ain't happening here. Virtually none of the stuff in these incredible lists in this thread happen or are allowed other than the buyer poking his head (with the owner's permission each time) into bilges and stuff. And during sea trials just observing the normal operation of the boat.

Remember this is based on the size, cost and type of boats the majority of posters on CF could afford to buy, which doesn't include mega-yachts or commercial vessels.

As to getting to know the boat at other times than during a Sea Trial - sure, the more you talk the owner if he/she is still available and use a competent surveyor - the better chance you have of realizing what it is that you are intending to buy. All boats for sale here are sold "as is" with specific legal clauses in the sales agreement disavowing the veracity of any verbal information or statements by the seller or broker.

Most likely you will be shown aboard the vessel by the seller's broker or his representative, both of which have little knowledge of the boat and are not going to let you "mess" with anything. If they did they would be legally liable for any damage or missing stuff. That is why doing your "homework" on the type/make/model of the boat and its history is crucial to any success you might have in getting a "good" deal.
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Old 15-11-2012, 21:22   #45
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Re: Useful Sea-Trial Tips and Tests

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I guess we do things differently in Florida, USA.
SNIP
I can only speak for Florida and Louisiana but I suspect it is much the same everywhere. The owner is the key factor in any sale. I have had a broker put me in direct contact with an owner and the owner and I met sans broker and I inspected the boat. I have also had only the broker be at the inspection. Same goes for sea trials, to a great extent the owner sets the rules and some limit what happens while others are a lot more open.

Nothing I wanted to do was what I would call potentially destructive but things like sailing, me taking the wheel, tacking, gibing, sailing under screecher and then working jib, stuff like this were all OK. When I was looking at Fboats testing the amas were allowed. On the other hand one broker said if I wanted to start the engine I should bring a battery charger or a jump starter.

This is why I posted an owner can be invaluable if they are willing to help during the sea trials. It is one thing to say "don't trust what the owner says about how great the boat is" and in some cases that may be good advice. On the other hand if you can trust what the owner says you miles ahead of the game.
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