Buying a boat? Our sea trial top tips

When buying a boat most of us know the importance of obtaining a survey and a marine engineer’s report. However, not so many give the sea trial much thought. Taking your prospective new boat on the waves is a quick affair, unlike a professional marine survey, and with limited time to assess its capabilities, you need to be focused to sharpen your buying decision. This means asking all those crucial questions and assessing the boat’s performance and potential. So, what exactly should you look out for and think about?

Sea trials: the boat buying essentials

Firstly, let’s look at the main objective of a sea trial.  After the survey and marine engineers report has been completed – and all those technical points satisfied – it’s over to the sea trial to gather your own subjective feelings. Does the boat suit your style of yachting and way of life? Is it a pleasure craft that you and your crew will feel relaxed aboard? Can you imagine how you will make use of all of its features?

Do you need a sea trial?

Whether you are thinking of buying a new or used boat and from a dealer, broker, builder or private seller, getting a sea trial is imperative. After all, before parting with your money, it’s absolutely sensible and defensible to know exactly how the boat you are planning to buy performs.

On the day of the sea trial

Before the day you carry out a sea trial chances are you have already done your homework on the boat, looking into its cabin and deck plans, key specs and features. This helps establish that the vessel is the right type for you. Now for the pointers that will help you make up your mind.

Think of a sea trial as a typical trip out that you expect to take on day’s sailing. It is a good idea to bring along your crew to give you another perspective. Take time to explore every space onboard, from every angle, examining how it flows.

Check these five points

  1. Feeling safe and secure? Walk around all the interior and exterior spaces of the boat. Check for adequate depth of the gunwales and good positioning of the handholds. As the boat picks up speed, does the boat offer safety and stability for you and your crew?
  2. Refined design: As the boat travels at a rate of knots that would be typical for you on a trip out, examine how comfortable the boat is at different positions.
  3. All round vision: Check how the visibility changes throughout the journey. As the boat tilts and comes back to the level, and as it’s performing a turn, does it maintain good visibility?
  4. Precise handling: Take a moment to test the boat’s manoeuvrability in tight spaces, such as within a marina. See how the boat handles off-plane tracking and the effects of the wind and how well her joystick and thrusters cope with these challenges. If you plan to drive the boat on your own, does it offer easy access to the side decks?
  5. Performance capabilities: Depending on the conditions, you could test the boat’s handling by manoeuvring her into various angles to the waves. See how well she performs as you use the trim and tabs. With performance stats to hand, together with predicted cruising range and running costs, set the dash programme for fuel flow, revs and speed. Then start the boat in a series of increments, going from idle to full throttle. Based on these stats, you can then easily assess how suitable the used boat is for you.

At Argo Yachting we have professional understanding and expertise in sourcing reliable used yachts to meet our customers’ discerning needs. And we back it up with a total package of attentive after-sales support. Altogether this offers you assurance that you have made the right purchasing decision and that everything’s being taken care of as you travel the world.

As official distributor for Chris-Craft boats in the UK and Balearic Islands, we offer an exciting fleet of stylish, high-calibre inboard and outboard powered launches ranging from 23 to 35 feet and capable of reaching speeds of up to 50mph.

In addition, we are the official distributor in the Balearics, Southern Spain and Northern Germany for Saxdor Yachts – a new innovative brand founded by the much-respected original designer of the award-winning Axopar yachts. Saxdor offers an affordable route into accessing the fleet’s wide range of performance capabilities. These compact and agile machines are perfect for exploring the shallow waters of remote coves and navigating your way into narrow harbours with ease.

Buying a boat: peace of mind

At Argo, your peace of mind when buying a used motor yacht is our number one priority. That is why we ensure that every purchase comes with the full assurance of our meticulous approval process, undertaken by our trained engineers and brokerage team. As part of the Argo Nautical Limited group, we have over 50 years of experience and a rich heritage, plus an impressive in-house aftersales department, so you can rely on us when it comes to buying a boat.