Most likely the seller already had someone back out due to unsatisfactory survey
so he's trying to avoid that again. Personally not having a sea trial is not a deal breaker as of all the 5 boats I've owned only one turned out to be a dud. But I knew that going in as I needed her to be a "space saver" for a mooring
which needed some boat to be on it not to lose the mooring permit
and she was literally free and later became a bargaining chip for a needed engine
. The other 4 were perfectly seaworthy
and none had more issues than I knew of going in and the all were better sailors than I anticipated.
Why do people expect under $15-20K 40+ year old boats to be in Bristol A+ shape is beyond my understanding. Of course it'll have a number of issues and some may even be fatal if, and this "if" is important, if the buyer plans the boat to outlive him or her. Otherwise at say $10-12-15K purchase price
it would be a decent enough boat to enjoy for the next 2-3 years/seasons and then to sell if needed for say $5-7-10K. Making the cost of having a decent enough 37 footer less then $2-3K per year. I'm sure one will always be able to find a buyer or two for a 45 year old 37 footer at $5-7K. Just the engine
, all systems, teak
, etc. on her are worth that much if parted out on ebay.
Now, if marina costs, haul outs, etc. are too much for the buyer to risk when buying
such a boat that's another issue and may be more indicative of the buyers' financial ability to be a boat owner then the risk of boat turning out to be in poor shape. After all if he buys the boat at say $12K and has to dispose of her 6 months later at $3K cost of disposal it is still much smaller loss than buying
a Bristol shape boat for $100K and having to sell her asap (for whatever reason) at $80K, less the broker's commission. This is the thinking and the approach IMO that should be applied in this situation.
Now, if one cannot stomach a $15K loss on a boat, any boat, one may not be ready to be a boat owner of any type/age/make/cost of a boat.