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MidPack

How do you arrange an honest test sail without buying a boat?

152 posts in this topic

Evidently I'm strange, I went for a test sail before buying my last three boats, and I'd have a hard time buying any boat that I had never sailed that model before. Not unlike buying a car. I made myself available wherever/whenever the dealer suggested, was willing to sail with whoever - I certainly didn't expect them to bring a boat to me.

 

I won't name the builders, but I am finding it very difficult to arrange a test sail with boat builders and brokers alike. One broker told me 'make a competitive offer and we'll make the sale contingent on a test sail (and survey). Otherwise no test sail.' Others have said in essence, 'when you've decided to buy our boat, we can talk about a test sail.'

 

How do I know if I want the boat if I've never sailed one? I buy boats to sail first, I'm not looking for a floating condo that will spend it's life never leaving it's slip/mooring (in which case a test sail might not be that important).

 

I certainly understand why they don't want to take folks who have no real intention of buying out for a sale. But when I have (or offered to) traveled 1000 miles and I've bought my last three boats new (two were slightly higher priced than what I am looking at) why are they so hesitant? There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. Agree to buy and we'll arrange a test sail...

 

What am I missing???

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If you are talking about a test sail on a brokerage boat, the owner (seller) would think the broker was a rookie fuck for suggesting a test sail. You buy (contract) subject to sail not sail subject to buy. Reason is after a rock star sail the buyer makes a silly offer and seller and broker are wondering why they wasted their time.

New boats, dealer owned test sails are part of the protocol.

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I think it all has to do with litigation and insurance and all that crud that goes along with it. Several of us want to go for a test sail on a boat and the broker is saying this outrageous amount of jing just for going out for a bit. I guess I understand both sides of this issue, but...

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Evidently I'm strange, I went for a test sail before buying my last three boats, and I'd have a hard time buying any boat that I had never sailed that model before. Not unlike buying a car. I made myself available wherever/whenever the dealer suggested, was willing to sail with whoever - I certainly didn't expect them to bring a boat to me.

 

I won't name the builders, but I am finding it very difficult to arrange a test sail with boat builders and brokers alike. One broker told me 'make a competitive offer and we'll make the sale contingent on a test sail (and survey). Otherwise no test sail.' Others have said in essence, 'when you've decided to buy our boat, we can talk about a test sail.'

 

How do I know if I want the boat if I've never sailed one? I buy boats to sail first, I'm not looking for a floating condo that will spend it's life never leaving it's slip/mooring (in which case a test sail might not be that important).

 

I certainly understand why they don't want to take folks who have no real intention of buying out for a sale. But when I have (or offered to) traveled 1000 miles and I've bought my last three boats new (two were slightly higher priced than what I am looking at) why are they so hesitant? There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. Agree to buy and we'll arrange a test sail...

 

What am I missing???

Simple no test sail no sale. Consider it all part of the inspection period no test sail ='s failed inspection.

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Highly unusual in my experience. Obviously if the boat is not in the water it might be understandable but having had a brief fling at yacht brokering several years ago in Naptown a test sail was almost always part of the deal - again assuming the boat was in the water, no different than a survey before the sale.

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offer to pay them hourly in cash for thier time regardless if you buy or not and you might get a different result

 

if I were selling my boat and someone wanted a test sail I'd want to know how much they were willing to pay for the boat before saying okay

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if I were selling my boat and someone wanted a test sail I'd want to know how much they were willing to pay for the boat before saying okay

 

And therein lies the stalemate. I'm thinking of your 10 year old frobnitz 42 -- the reviews in magazines sound nice -- and I can figure out what fair market value is for a 10 year frobnitz 42 in the condition yours is in, and my friend used to own one and liked it, but I never sailed on it....

 

So really, I have no idea how much I'm going to like the frobnitz 42... So I really don't know how much I'm willing to pay for it. I could say, "I'm willing to pay you X (fair market value) contingent on me liking the boat when I sail it." - but that's not really an offer, since my out is completely at my choice.

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Boat sales are almost always contingent on satisfactory inspection, survey, and sea trial, and deposits are typically 100% refundable so there's really no risk to you to putting in an offer.

 

The broker, however, is risking wear and tear on the boat, liability, and his time.

 

Plunk down some token cash and go test sail the f*ucker.

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I can't say I've ever heard of a broker allowing a test sail without an accepted offer, and this applies to private sales as well, for all the reasons listed above. I doubt I would allow a test sale without at least a valid offer, unless I knew the person fairly well.

 

If the offer is structured right, an accepted offer doesn't really mean too much. Normally, any offer is made subject to sea trial and survey and there is no sale until the subject tos have been removed. The subject tos make it easy to back out of the deal, and often offer a great opportunity to renegotiate the price.

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There are lots of good-talking hull-kickers out there, so the system works to protect the broker and seller from wasting their time.

 

My experience buying brokerage boats was always make an offer with deposit first, subject to a sea trial and survey. The sea trial usually took place on the way to the yard for the haulout/survey.

 

The 92 was the exception. I bought it sight-unseen without a broker, had it surveyed there, then shipped across country. I saw it for the first time when it arrived on the truck. Also, I'd never sailed a 92 before I sailed mine for the first time. While it obviously turned out fine, I don't recommend this approach.

 

On the other hand, I've taken a couple of local guys sailing on my boat as guests, who said they wanted to buy a 92. I was going sailing anyway and they asked the right questions. Both of them bought 92's. (I should have been paid the commissions.)

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C'mon down! You can sail a Dart anytime! Heck we loan 'em out for racing!

 

( Summer would be nicer though.. )

 

-jim lee

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if I were selling my boat and someone wanted a test sail I'd want to know how much they were willing to pay for the boat before saying okay

 

And therein lies the stalemate. I'm thinking of your 10 year old frobnitz 42 -- the reviews in magazines sound nice -- and I can figure out what fair market value is for a 10 year frobnitz 42 in the condition yours is in, and my friend used to own one and liked it, but I never sailed on it....

 

So really, I have no idea how much I'm going to like the frobnitz 42... So I really don't know how much I'm willing to pay for it. I could say, "I'm willing to pay you X (fair market value) contingent on me liking the boat when I sail it." - but that's not really an offer, since my out is completely at my choice.

I can initally look at a boat and see what condition it is in as well as look at the PHRF numbers to see how well it sails. I can then look at similarly aged & (especially) equipped boats and determine what it's generally worth. Then I can look at that number and be sure there is not another boat at that number that I'd rather have. Then I can make an offer, have it's condition verified bysurvey and test sail it before I buy it.

 

It's a hell of a good system.

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Boat sales are almost always contingent on satisfactory inspection, survey, and sea trial, and deposits are typically 100% refundable so there's really no risk to you to putting in an offer.

So you and the others above are saying I could agree to a price with a seller, and then sail the boat and ask for a refund on a boat that was a perfectly operable example of a Frobnitz 42, just because I really didn't like how it sailed? Any brokers here want to confirm?

 

The "sea trial" on boats I have sold was to make sure everything worked, especially that the engine ran right. If any of those buyers had said, "I just don't like it and I want my money back," I would have been more than a little upset.

 

My problem may be that after three race boats, wife wants us to consider a daysailer with no racing likely, and I'm afraid the thing will be a dog in light air (common where we are). The SA/D is lower than anything I've owned, and the D/L is higher. Yes, I've asked owners online about light air, but can I really expect a stranger to tell me the boat he bought is a dog in light air? And I have no way of knowing what their frame of reference is anyway, for all I know they had a old Frobnitz 28 (everyone knows they 43 hopeless in less than a hurricane).

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Brokerage contracts have an accept/reject date. No reason is necessary. If you reject the deposit is returned. You can reject because you found a better deal or your wife hates the odor up forward. No matter

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I've never backed out on buying a boat because I didn't like how the boat sailed, but to my knowledge that is the purpose of doing the sea trial. Suppose the winches are undersized, or the boat heels more than the admiral likes, all valid reasons to back out of the deal as far as I know, but then again I am not a broker.

 

And as G37 said, you don't even need a valid reason.

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Aside from what's already been discussed, a formal offer is also one more important thing: it's a signed piece of paper documenting who's responsible for what if bad stuff happens during the test sail.

 

Hopefully you aren't doing this totally blind and have some kind of idea how it sails before you try it out (some types of boats, it's pretty easy to convince an existing owner to go out and play).

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An alert broker might know of other boats of that model that are being sailed actively or that might be in charter.

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One broker told me 'make a competitive offer and we'll make the sale contingent on a test sail (and survey). Otherwise no test sail.' Others have said in essence, 'when you've decided to buy our boat, we can talk about a test sail.'

 

Normal practice. Earnest money first then sail.

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One broker told me 'make a competitive offer and we'll make the sale contingent on a test sail (and survey). Otherwise no test sail.' Others have said in essence, 'when you've decided to buy our boat, we can talk about a test sail.'

Normal practice. Earnest money first then sail.

I think we all know what the normal practice is....

 

The question is; does it benefit the seller?

 

I think it's not so clear that it does.

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One broker told me 'make a competitive offer and we'll make the sale contingent on a test sail (and survey). Otherwise no test sail.' Others have said in essence, 'when you've decided to buy our boat, we can talk about a test sail.'

Normal practice. Earnest money first then sail.

I think we all know what the normal practice is....

 

The question is; does it benefit the seller?

 

I think it's not so clear that it does.

I think it does because it allows brokers to focus on real buyers and avoid guys who just want to pretend that they are buying a boat.

 

If I were selling a boat and I found out that my broker was taking everybody who asked out for a test sail I'd realize that the broker probably was missing out on the serious buyer by virtue of being engaged with non serious, non checking writing non buyers.

 

next!

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Look, there are a lot of time wasters out there.

 

They've got nothing better to do than come to your place of business, chit-chat, ask for free boat rides, free boat maintenance, expect you to fix their mistakes... it just goes on and on. If you don't have a good attitude, it can really turn a professional into a cynic.

 

To avoid misunderstandings or other difficulties, just follow the protocol and bail out at any point along the way.

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One broker told me 'make a competitive offer and we'll make the sale contingent on a test sail (and survey). Otherwise no test sail.' Others have said in essence, 'when you've decided to buy our boat, we can talk about a test sail.'

Normal practice. Earnest money first then sail.

I think we all know what the normal practice is....

 

The question is; does it benefit the seller?

 

I think it's not so clear that it does.

 

Well, it's pretty clear the OP didn't know - although I'm not sure how he could not have, having bought and sold a fair number of boats himself.

 

I'm trying to figure out why you say it's not so clear. Possibly losing a sale? Perhaps, but very unlikely. IMHO, the benefits of the standard protocol greatly outweigh the costs.

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Asking for a free test sail on a second hand boat is like asking a girl for a blow job before you waste any money taking her on a date.

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Asking for a free test sail on a second hand boat is like asking a girl for a blow job before you waste any money taking her on a date.

 

So you're saying I have a 50/50 chance of a free test sail? derp.png

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Asking for a free test sail on a second hand boat is like asking a girl for a blow job before you waste any money taking her on a date.

So you're saying I have a 50/50 chance of a free test sail? derp.png

Like the other thing I guess it comes down to how nicely you ask.

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Asking for a free test sail on a second hand boat is like asking a girl for a blow job before you waste any money taking her on a date.

 

So, is the app "SAILR". Because TINDER has the other one down.

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Asking for a free test sail on a second hand boat is like asking a girl for a blow job before you waste any money taking her on a date.

So, is the app "SAILR". Because TINDER has the other one down.

I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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They obvioulsy aren't that interested in selling! If you want to sell you want to get the customer excited by taking them out on the boat, smell the air, do you know that cute girl in the bikini because she just waived at you, and all of that. Amateur's and they say car salesman have a bad name!

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Back in the day when sailors were presumed to be gentlemen, I think test sails were common. What I like about this arrangement is that it settles the price issue first. If you don't like the way it sails it's not as though you would offer $10,000 less. You wouldn't want it at all. So with it understood that "I've never sailed on one of these boats but like what I've heard and read", then yes, let's see if we can agree on a price. Assuming the boat is in the slip and not on the hard, go sailing. If you like it, then full survey. Certainly the price could be further negotiated based on issues that come up in either, but at least there's an agreed upon starting point.

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Boat sales are almost always contingent on satisfactory inspection, survey, and sea trial, and deposits are typically 100% refundable so there's really no risk to you to putting in an offer.

So you and the others above are saying I could agree to a price with a seller, and then sail the boat and ask for a refund on a boat that was a perfectly operable example of a Frobnitz 42, just because I really didn't like how it sailed? Any brokers here want to confirm?

 

The "sea trial" on boats I have sold was to make sure everything worked, especially that the engine ran right. If any of those buyers had said, "I just don't like it and I want my money back," I would have been more than a little upset.

 

My problem may be that after three race boats, wife wants us to consider a daysailer with no racing likely, and I'm afraid the thing will be a dog in light air (common where we are). The SA/D is lower than anything I've owned, and the D/L is higher. Yes, I've asked owners online about light air, but can I really expect a stranger to tell me the boat he bought is a dog in light air? And I have no way of knowing what their frame of reference is anyway, for all I know they had a old Frobnitz 28 (everyone knows they 43 hopeless in less than a hurricane).

Sounds like you and they wifey are at odds here.

Go look at some 35'+ Cat and Tri's, then you'll have some light air cruising performance.

 

You also have to remember that Agent Smith will have all you data after you back out of the deal because it is a cruising pig. SPAM SPAM SPAM

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Back in the day when sailors were presumed to be gentlemen, I think test sails were common. What I like about this arrangement is that it settles the price issue first. If you don't like the way it sails it's not as though you would offer $10,000 less. You wouldn't want it at all. So with it understood that "I've never sailed on one of these boats but like what I've heard and read", then yes, let's see if we can agree on a price. Assuming the boat is in the slip and not on the hard, go sailing. If you like it, then full survey. Certainly the price could be further negotiated based on issues that come up in either, but at least there's an agreed upon starting point.

Every boat I have asked about a test sail was in the water, of course I wouldn't ask to test sail a boat on the hard.

 

Some were at boat shows, so I was hoping for an after hours, or day after test sail, but no luck so far. In some cases I was probably competing with sail media for time on water in the boat, and I can understand why the (guaranteed favorable) press review is way more valuable than taking out prospective customers.

 

Sellers in most big ticket industries have to deal with lookers/tire kickers (which I'm not), cars, houses, etc. - not sure why boats would be different. The fact that I am willing to travel considerable distances, have bought three new (not used) boats, cash buyer/no trade-in hasn't made any difference so far. Boat brokers seemingly have nothing in common with realtors or car sales.

 

Oh well, our season is basically over, so no rush (and probably no new boat) now...

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You know MP, if there's something specific you want to sail - something new - just give me a shout. All ya have to do is take a couple of pics and write a short but honest review... media does have its perks

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There are a lot of wanna-be sailors out there who would take up a dealer's whole day with test sails. And taking a boat out is not nearly as simple as taking a car out. Think 15 minutes to get the sails on, 10 minutes just to get out of the harbour, 1 hour of sailing, then 1/2 hour getting the boat back and packed. It is a major commitment.

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looked at an aerodyne 38 a few years ago.

 

it was listed by a brokerage.

 

i've never sailed one, and they are somewhat unlike typical boats i have sailed - mostly j-boats like the j/120, j/122 etc...

 

i liked it, it was well under my budget.., but it just seemed like too much of an unknown

 

i never asked to test sail it - because i knew what the answer would be.

 

i just couldn't get excited enough to make an offer without sailing it,

 

the boat took over 1 year more to sell.

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There are a lot of wanna-be sailors out there who would take up a dealer's whole day with test sails. And taking a boat out is not nearly as simple as taking a car out. Think 15 minutes to get the sails on, 10 minutes just to get out of the harbour, 1 hour of sailing, then 1/2 hour getting the boat back and packed. It is a major commitment.

Yes it is. But I have a track record of buying new boats and I'm offering to come to them - wherever/whenever. A new boat is a much larger purchase than a car in my case (not uncommon I'd guess) too...so I'd think committing a few hours (vs 15 min for a car) would be warranted - but clearly I'm mistaken.

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looked at an aerodyne 38 a few years ago.

 

it was listed by a brokerage.

 

i've never sailed one, and they are somewhat unlike typical boats i have sailed - mostly j-boats like the j/120, j/122 etc...

 

i liked it, it was well under my budget.., but it just seemed like too much of an unknown

 

i never asked to test sail it - because i knew what the answer would be.

 

i just couldn't get excited enough to make an offer without sailing it,

 

the boat took over 1 year more to sell.

It appears that's where we'll end up too. As someone above noted, it's partly a family problem - I'd like a go fast and wifey wants to consider something more cruisy (like lots of sailors), and I am trying to test sail both. So I race on OPB for another year I guess...

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How much can you tell from a single test sail anyway. Don't you really want 2 or 3, one in heavy air, one in light air, and maybe one that is somewhere in between?

 

If the boat is at all common it seems like the best way would be to befriend someone who owns the same boat and go out with them a few times.

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There are a lot of wanna-be sailors out there who would take up a dealer's whole day with test sails. And taking a boat out is not nearly as simple as taking a car out. Think 15 minutes to get the sails on, 10 minutes just to get out of the harbour, 1 hour of sailing, then 1/2 hour getting the boat back and packed. It is a major commitment.

Yes it is. But I have a track record of buying new boats and I'm offering to come to them - wherever/whenever. A new boat is a much larger purchase than a car in my case (not uncommon I'd guess) too...so I'd think committing a few hours (vs 15 min for a car) would be warranted - but clearly I'm mistaken.

 

I understand your position but I can clearly understand the brokers position as well. Yes there are circumstances to you that makes it less likely that you are a tire kicker but even looking in to those takes the broker time and makes each person a judgment call.

 

From the brokers point of view the willingness to make a contingent no risk offer is a better screen of serious buyers than other methods that you feel you would pass.

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I understand your position but I can clearly understand the brokers position as well. Yes there are circumstances to you that makes it less likely that you are a tire kicker but even looking in to those takes the broker time and makes each person a judgment call.

 

From the brokers point of view the willingness to make a contingent no risk offer is a better screen of serious buyers than other methods that you feel you would pass.

I'm hard headed, but you're right, it's that simple. But that means unless I can find a boat/owner on my own, I choose a boat on paper and here-say, and my second, third and fourth choices are just eliminated even though I haven't experienced them on the water - far and away what's most important to us. I've tried to test sail my first and second choices, the latter on and off for years, and it's just not going to happen. I would think the second choice seller might work with me, making an offer on my second choice just to test sail one expecting (but not knowing) to reject, seems dishonest to me - I'd rather be up front than trick my way into a test sail.

 

Thanks for all the input, I'm just hard headed, and whining by my own standards now. I'm done...

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Back in the day when sailors were presumed to be gentlemen, I think test sails were common. What I like about this arrangement is that it settles the price issue first. If you don't like the way it sails it's not as though you would offer $10,000 less. You wouldn't want it at all. So with it understood that "I've never sailed on one of these boats but like what I've heard and read", then yes, let's see if we can agree on a price. Assuming the boat is in the slip and not on the hard, go sailing. If you like it, then full survey. Certainly the price could be further negotiated based on issues that come up in either, but at least there's an agreed upon starting point.

Every boat I have asked about a test sail was in the water, of course I wouldn't ask to test sail a boat on the hard.

 

Some were at boat shows, so I was hoping for an after hours, or day after test sail, but no luck so far. In some cases I was probably competing with sail media for time on water in the boat, and I can understand why the (guaranteed favorable) press review is way more valuable than taking out prospective customers.

 

Sellers in most big ticket industries have to deal with lookers/tire kickers (which I'm not), cars, houses, etc. - not sure why boats would be different. The fact that I am willing to travel considerable distances, have bought three new (not used) boats, cash buyer/no trade-in hasn't made any difference so far. Boat brokers seemingly have nothing in common with realtors or car sales.

 

Oh well, our season is basically over, so no rush (and probably no new boat) now...

I paid to have a boat splashed to do a test sail flew from CA to Washington DC to do it. Owner was jazzed about getting out and going sailing. He sent me all sorts of info before hand I asked lots of questions. Boat was in the water when I got there $200 we had a nice sail and good time. Owner failed to mention that the boat was smashed against a piling the year prior and they did a quickie clean up ie top sides paint job. All of the tabbing busted off the main bulkhead on the Starboard side took me about 5 minutes looking at the interior to say ummm hey what is that from? Oh that well let me tell ya about that says the owner. I told him I was looking at a pretty large investment to get the boat to the west coast and that I simply could not justify shipping a boat west which needed this sort of repair work. He agreed we finished our nice sail and that was it no hard feelings.

 

The boat I bought happened to pop up locally the following week wife and I went for a fun 4hr sail with the owner and his wife had a great time this was 1 day after he listed it. We wrote him a check two days later after I did a more detailed inspection we aren't talking big dollar boats here either talking no more than 25K. If a seller of more expensive boats is not into doing test sails then they are not in the business of selling boats they are in the business of collecting boats.

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The 4 boats we're seriously considering are from $75K-$150K. But I'd think almost any boat that's already in the water (true for every request I've made) could be made available to a serious buyer no matter what the price. Whatever the cost, it's probably a significant expense to each prospective boat buyer...

The boat I bought happened to pop up locally the following week wife and I went for a fun 4hr sail with the owner and his wife had a great time this was 1 day after he listed it. We wrote him a check two days later after I did a more detailed inspection we aren't talking big dollar boats here either talking no more than 25K. If a seller of more expensive boats is not into doing test sails then they are not in the business of selling boats they are in the business of collecting boats.

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There is a difference between a "dealer" doing a test sail for new product; or a trade-in that they actually own so the liability is fully theirs. If they want to do that then they can fill their boots. A "broker" dealing with a brokerage boat that is "owned" by an individual is very different. More like realtor a that doesn't own anything just a representative of the seller/owner for a fee. So put it this way: Would a realtor allow you to make breakfast in the seller's kitchen. Sleep in their bed? Try their BBQ or hot tub? Me thinks not.

 

If a broker asked a seller (which is never) for a test sail he will be laughed at except special/very rare circumstances by the seller. "Show me the deal and the deposit then I'll look at it. Maybe"

 

Boats can be more portable but up to a point. Most real sea trails involve the owner most have the time. If nothing as a orientation if it works for you.

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There are a lot of wanna-be sailors out there who would take up a dealer's whole day with test sails. And taking a boat out is not nearly as simple as taking a car out. Think 15 minutes to get the sails on, 10 minutes just to get out of the harbour, 1 hour of sailing, then 1/2 hour getting the boat back and packed. It is a major commitment.

 

It can take far longer than that when the boat is anchored out or on a mooring. To even show the boat requires loading the dinghy on the car, waiting for the other party to show up (late!), multiple trips in a small dinghy (possibly rowing!) if the prospective couple brings their kids, etc. To go for a sail, I'd want my own crew who already knows all the procedures for casting off and retrieving the mooring, raising and stowing and trimming sails, operating the running backstays, etc., to make it look easy. Easily half a day for me and one crew.

 

I feel a lot better hearing that the consensus on this thread matches my instinct - get a serious, credible offer first before sailing.

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nobody is saying that either the seller/owner or the broker owe any favors to the buyer.

 

the question is this; is taking on the additional risk (which could be insured), and hassle to the owner and broker of offering a test sail worth the possibility of an earlier sale?

 

it's not uncommon for boats to be on the market for a year or more - there can be significant cost (financial and non-financial) associated with this. storage, insurance, opportunity cost, delay in the purchase of a new boat, aggravation of owning a boat you don't want...

 

the answer probably depends on the boat, the asking price etc

 

also, the broker doesn't have to offer a test sail to everyone who asks - they can use their judgement, and limit it to people they perceive as serious buyers.

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offer to pay them hourly in cash for thier time regardless if you buy or not and you might get a different result

 

if I were selling my boat and someone wanted a test sail I'd want to know how much they were willing to pay for the boat before saying okay

 

Then get them to credit that amount back to you if you purchase, maybe?

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And therein lies the stalemate. I'm thinking of your 10 year old frobnitz 42 -- the reviews in magazines sound nice -- and I can figure out what fair market value is for a 10 year frobnitz 42 in the condition yours is in, and my friend used to own one and liked it, but I never sailed on it....

 

So really, I have no idea how much I'm going to like the frobnitz 42... So I really don't know how much I'm willing to pay for it. I could say, "I'm willing to pay you X (fair market value) contingent on me liking the boat when I sail it." - but that's not really an offer, since my out is completely at my choice.

 

 

If you write a contract that says that, it would be very much like every contract I worked on when I was at a brokerage. Almost every brokerage boat sale was subject to sea trial and survey, and that meant the buyer could reject the boat for any reason, or even without giving a reason, if unhappy with the sea trial and/or survey. The deposit would be refunded, but they would have to pay their surveyor.

 

Most deals ended up closing if it went all the way to sea trial/survey day. Re-negotiations of price were common, based on survey findings. I don't remember anyone just saying, "Nah, nevermind" and walking away without any reason, though any of them could have done it.

 

New boats: our insurance agent made it clear that dealership boats were covered during a sea trial if there was a contract. No contract? The salesman is personally insuring the new boat.

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Some dealers in Annapolis seem to make a point of having demo sail days, often attached to the Sailboat Show. Those are usually the brands that have significant "communities" of owners.

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There is a difference between a "dealer" doing a test sail for new product; or a trade-in that they actually own so the liability is fully theirs. If they want to do that then they can fill their boots. A "broker" dealing with a brokerage boat that is "owned" by an individual is very different. More like realtor a that doesn't own anything just a representative of the seller/owner for a fee. So put it this way: Would a realtor allow you to make breakfast in the seller's kitchen. Sleep in their bed? Try their BBQ or hot tub? Me thinks not.

I'd think buying a car might be a fairer comparison. Care to walk your POV through that comparison?

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if I were selling my boat and someone wanted a test sail I'd want to know how much they were willing to pay for the boat before saying okay

 

And therein lies the stalemate. I'm thinking of your 10 year old frobnitz 42 -- the reviews in magazines sound nice -- and I can figure out what fair market value is for a 10 year frobnitz 42 in the condition yours is in, and my friend used to own one and liked it, but I never sailed on it....

 

So really, I have no idea how much I'm going to like the frobnitz 42... So I really don't know how much I'm willing to pay for it. I could say, "I'm willing to pay you X (fair market value) contingent on me liking the boat when I sail it." - but that's not really an offer, since my out is completely at my choice.

I can initally look at a boat and see what condition it is in as well as look at the PHRF numbers to see how well it sails. I can then look at similarly aged & (especially) equipped boats and determine what it's generally worth. Then I can look at that number and be sure there is not another boat at that number that I'd rather have. Then I can make an offer, have it's condition verified bysurvey and test sail it before I buy it.

 

It's a hell of a good system.

 

Yeah, I got that, but what the PHRF numbers and the market value aren't going to tell me that I freaking hate the way the cockpit coaming digs into my ass when I sit in my charcteristic helming position, nor that something about the geometry of the cockpit causes my wife to whack her shin on the traveler every time she comes up the companionway, both things that would turn up in a test sail but that aren't in any way flaws in the boat.

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You have the purchase contingent on the test sail. If you don't like the way the boat handles.. Bye bye. If you like the way it sails.. It's your boat. If from a builder , if it's a production boat you can normally hitch a ride for something like a beer can race on a boat that was sold. Then you can not only talk to somebody who owns one, but get your own thoughts on the boat. If a one off. It's trust in the builder and designer that you go with.

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A good broker in a busy area ought to able to make some magic happen with this, especially if it is a late/new model boat at a "dealership" - Keep in mind there is a big difference between brokers and dealers and the commitment to the dealers brand etc.

 

It's not an easy deal on 50-75k, 10 year old boats...late model / new 150k+ broker ought to be jumping through a hoop or two to make it happen?

 

Been on both sides of this, wasted a lot of time, build strong relationships with no sales AND tried to hook buyers up and couldn't pull it off.

 

Keep in mind, from a broker's perspective the sea trial(not a test sail) is mainly to confirm engine specs and functionality of the sailing systems. It rarely affords a buyer to test sail really. They may spend a few minutes on the helm (30 tops) and you are at the mercy of the wind gods on that day, which you are trying to survey and sea trial.

 

Car analogy really doesn't work, with brokerage boats. Car lot owns the car, broker just represents the seller. DEALER Owns the new boats, but not many used ones. Occasional trades?

 

Hope that helps. No shameless promotion, but I have a boat dealer ship and brokerage and have been selling boats for 15+ years...

 

MIkie

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The car/boat comparison doesn't fly. The dealer will have a demo car and 20 minutes later you have had your test drive. A boat test sail will take a morning or afternoon given the need to fold sails and hose it/wipe it and covers back on after the buyer has left.

 

As a rule of thumb, a dealer of a new boat will probably take you out for a sail once he is across your needs and sees you as a potential buyer.

 

Test sails on brokerage boats need a price agreed on since that is a stumbling block best sorted out before spending so much time out on the water. Whilst the deposit is fully refundable, it is a show of good faith to the broker when asking him to spend that amount of time and resources.

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None of this answers the OP's original question... (paraphrasing):

 

"Do we like the Framis 42 or the Grundylow 41 better?"

 

The only way he can do a comparison test is to make an offer on both (or more), even though the intent is to walk away from at least one offer... seems like a dishonest way to fill an honest request. All to make life easier for the Broker (who's life already sounds easier than a used car salesman).

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None of this answers the OP's original question... (paraphrasing):

 

"Do we like the Framis 42 or the Grundylow 41 better?"

 

The only way he can do a comparison test is to make an offer on both (or more), even though the intent is to walk away from at least one offer... seems like a dishonest way to fill an honest request. All to make life easier for the Broker (who's life already sounds easier than a used car salesman).

new or used?

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Like most things in the sailing industry, the practice of making an offer prior to sailing the boat is asinine. I've been in one aspect or another in sales for over 20 years and this practice would get you laughed off the bid. I can't see why brokers get away with this bullshit, other than they are lazy and convince the seller it's in their best interest.

 

Any professional will qualify the lead. This can be as simple as knowing someone's reputation. Listening to the questions being asked. Ask several qualifying questions, etc.

 

Again, another sailing business practice that doesn't make sense, not keeping up with the times and slowing the growth of the sport/pastime.

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Fortunately there are forums out there with plenty of unsolicited expert advice! I'm sure there will be another 100 expert boat buying buddies chiming in any minute!

 

Let's face it, it's an impossible scenario. There isn't a REAL comp for a boat purchase, it isn't a house and it isn't a car.

 

MP - You aren't going to be happy with the performance of ANY of the cruising lead-mines if you have been racing competitively. NONE of them are going to go in >5 knots of wind and they aren't ever going to see double digits, unless you wife is miserable...If you stick to mainstream brands, you'll get decent resale value and the boats sail ok. You know which ones will go or not go or are turds.

 

Do the research and throw the dice...95-5 odds you won't be too disappointed as you already know this boat is a family purchase not a man-cave on the water.

 

Mikie

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Asking for a free test sail on a second hand boat is like asking a girl for a blow job before you waste any money taking her on a date.

And the problem with that approach is? :P

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Thanks again guys. I've given up on sailing what WAS our second choice. I'll go back and buy from the same builder as our last three boats, we were 90% +/- happy with each one. Alerion has decided we're not qualified buyers at least three times, new direct or broker used. I'm not going to waste any more time looking for a test sail...decision made. I can't buy a boat because it's "pretty..."

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Like most things in the sailing industry, the practice of making an offer prior to sailing the boat is asinine. I've been in one aspect or another in sales for over 20 years and this practice would get you laughed off the bid. I can't see why brokers get away with this bullshit, other than they are lazy and convince the seller it's in their best interest.

 

Any professional will qualify the lead. This can be as simple as knowing someone's reputation. Listening to the questions being asked. Ask several qualifying questions, etc.

 

Again, another sailing business practice that doesn't make sense, not keeping up with the times and slowing the growth of the sport/pastime.

Bingo we have a winner!! A Broker who can't qualify a buyer in the first 10 minutes of talking with them is simply a waste of time and space in the office. Selling anything short of body parts if your not offering test runs be it seeing the light fixture mounted on a wall at the hardware store with a bulb and power to it so people can see it lit up or selling sail boats all you are is a collector wiling to sell stuff to people who buy without actually checking out the product.

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Like most things in the sailing industry, the practice of making an offer prior to sailing the boat is asinine. I've been in one aspect or another in sales for over 20 years and this practice would get you laughed off the bid. I can't see why brokers get away with this bullshit, other than they are lazy and convince the seller it's in their best interest.

 

Any professional will qualify the lead. This can be as simple as knowing someone's reputation. Listening to the questions being asked. Ask several qualifying questions, etc.

 

Again, another sailing business practice that doesn't make sense, not keeping up with the times and slowing the growth of the sport/pastime.

 

I know a very hard working and successful brokerage owner who has, three times in the last 40 years, sold his business to disaffected middle upper corporate executives with big payouts that claim they're going to show the boating industry how it's done.

 

He invariably buys the run down business back off the executive cheaply every time. I'd be willing to bet test sailing before offers all week long without a sale was one of the problems.

 

Having worked in the industry for many years I wouldn't be hard and fast on any requirement depending on how I read the buyer. Nevertheless if you altogether drop the offer/agreement process before a test sail on a brokerage boat you will not succeed; but you'll spend plenty of nice time sailing.

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Thanks again guys. I've given up on sailing what WAS our second choice. I'll go back and buy from the same builder as our last three boats, we were 90% +/- happy with each one. Alerion will never know if we could have been a customer, but I really don't care anymore...decision made. I can't buy a boat because it's "pretty..."

Mid if your looking at the A28 or other A boats - screw the broker find a local owner and go sailing. A broker is just a 3rd party leach has nothing to do with the boat or brand.

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Like most things in the sailing industry, the practice of making an offer prior to sailing the boat is asinine. I've been in one aspect or another in sales for over 20 years and this practice would get you laughed off the bid. I can't see why brokers get away with this bullshit, other than they are lazy and convince the seller it's in their best interest.

 

Any professional will qualify the lead. This can be as simple as knowing someone's reputation. Listening to the questions being asked. Ask several qualifying questions, etc.

 

Again, another sailing business practice that doesn't make sense, not keeping up with the times and slowing the growth of the sport/pastime.

Bingo we have a winner!! A Broker who can't qualify a buyer in the first 10 minutes of talking with them is simply a waste of time and space in the office. Selling anything short of body parts if your not offering test runs be it seeing the light fixture mounted on a wall at the hardware store with a bulb and power to it so people can see it lit up or selling sail boats all you are is a collector wiling to sell stuff to people who buy without actually checking out the product.

 

i don't think that the average seller is very satisfied with the process as it is now.

 

many boats take a year or two to sell

 

perhaps more "active" marketing would help...

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Like most things in the sailing industry, the practice of making an offer prior to sailing the boat is asinine. I've been in one aspect or another in sales for over 20 years and this practice would get you laughed off the bid. I can't see why brokers get away with this bullshit, other than they are lazy and convince the seller it's in their best interest.

 

Any professional will qualify the lead. This can be as simple as knowing someone's reputation. Listening to the questions being asked. Ask several qualifying questions, etc.

 

Again, another sailing business practice that doesn't make sense, not keeping up with the times and slowing the growth of the sport/pastime.

Bingo we have a winner!! A Broker who can't qualify a buyer in the first 10 minutes of talking with them is simply a waste of time and space in the office. Selling anything short of body parts if your not offering test runs be it seeing the light fixture mounted on a wall at the hardware store with a bulb and power to it so people can see it lit up or selling sail boats all you are is a collector wiling to sell stuff to people who buy without actually checking out the product.

 

i don't think that the average seller is very satisfied with the process as it is now.

 

many boats take a year or two to sell

 

perhaps more "active" marketing would help...

Nothing sells boats better than actually putting time on them with prospective buyers. If your not doing that you might as well just have a poster on the wall and offer to order one for them. LOL

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Refused test sails on three separate boats to a qualified buyer!

 

Well it seems from the posts that Alerion's sales team is well below par; complete amateurs!

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I don't know about brokers and their reasons for not at least trying to arrange a test sale to a qualified buyer, but it seems like a good idea to me. I took two people for test sails when my last boat was for sale and the second one ended up buying it. During the first test sail, I realized that he probably wasn't a serious buyer, though he tried his hardest to appear to be one, but the second potential buyer asked if I would take him and his yacht owning friend for a sale and I complied. Glorious day of sailing and since I'd owned the boat for 11 years at that point, I knew how to sail it well enough so we had a great time. How could he not buy it after that? He did.

 

Now I'm looking to buy another boat and I haven't asked for anyone to give me a test sail because I think I have a very good idea of the boats I'm considering and generally how they'll handle. I also doubt that in an hour or two sail if I'd become attuned enough to a boat that's strange to me, to be able to pick up on anything that would disqualify it or even to fairly compare it with another boat I might be considering that I sailed several days prior in different wind conditions. When I finally have an offer accepted, I do plan to try very hard to be present for the sea trial part of the survey just to make sure everything works OK and to begin learning about the boat.

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Refused test sails on three separate boats to a qualified buyer!

 

Well it seems from the posts that Alerion's sales team is well below par; complete amateurs!

They didn't outright refuse, about two months ago a broker expected a "competitive offer...contingent on sea trials" before I'd even seen the boat and more recently another mfg rep told me if an "Alerion in your very near future" then "they could consider a test sail." I don't recall the details of my prior attempts, but no test sail was ever offered.

 

But really, I don't want one any more, enough is enough...probably too slow, bad in light air for us anyway. Probably a great boat, just not for us.

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Refused test sails on three separate boats to a qualified buyer!

 

Well it seems from the posts that Alerion's sales team is well below par; complete amateurs!

They didn't outright refuse, about two months ago a broker expected a "competitive offer...contingent on sea trials" before I'd even seen the boat and more recently another mfg rep told me if an "Alerion in your very near future" then "they could consider a test sail." I don't recall the details of my prior attempts, but no test sail was ever offered.

 

But really, I don't want one any more, enough is enough...probably too slow, bad in light air for us anyway. Probably a great boat, just not for us.

They are really good sailors at least the 28 is for sure worth tracking down an owner and thumbing a ride. Can't be that hard. I tracked down the only C&C99 on the SF bay when they first came out turns out it was at my own club! I ended up doing foredeck on it for several years in fun races with the owner. Personally any boats I buy I track down owners and get crew spots on them to see how they handle - how they get tuned and how well they are built. Hence why I do not own a C&C 99 today. When the backstay gets cranked on the door on the head jams shut not my idea of a nice feature. LOL

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If you are researching a boat you might try reaching out to the class association or owners group.

 

Most members are fans/promoters of their particular boat and may take you for a sail based on your interest in the model.

 

While it may not be "the" boat you are buying, it should give you the feel for the boat.

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I can't buy a boat because it's "pretty..."

 

Isn't that one of the most important criteria?

 

I know nothing about the company but the Alerion 41 certainly is good looking:

 

Alerion-41-Side.jpg

 

http://alerionexp.com/alerion-series/alerion-41/

 

And a very new model, launched just last March? This Sail Magazine article dated Apr 1, 2013 says "Recently, we stepped on board hull No. 1". Has a four minute video of their test, performance looks great. Price: $509,000

 

http://www.sailmagazine.com/sailboat-reviews/alerion-41

 

How common do you think it is for a half million dollar car to get test driven without a VERY SERIOUS commitment from a highly qualified buyer?

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Refused test sails on three separate boats to a qualified buyer!

 

Well it seems from the posts that Alerion's sales team is well below par; complete amateurs!

They didn't outright refuse, they just expected a "competitive offer...contingent on sea trials or a "Alerion in your very near future" and then "they could consider a test sail." But really, I don't want one any more, enough is enough...

"Alerion in your very near future" sounds like such shwarmy salesman jargon.

 

I always tell a prospective buyer that the deposit is fully refundable and to be frank it's the price agreement that matters most, not the check. In my early days I would have all the i`'s dotted and `t's crossed including test sail and long phone conversations only to receive an unworkable offer that even my mother in law would have bought the boat for.

 

However, If you don't like the boat... you don't like the boat.

 

I would have to say that in this market it's the buyers who you spend the time on and I always test sail a qualified buyer. If you represent a brand and send a prospective buyer home impressed but without a sale then it is still good long term advertising.

 

Brokerage sales can be a hard road if random test sailing becomes the norm; that's why price agreement subject to test sail etc etc etc. Sometimes it's about getting the vendor to agree on price in case you do like the boat. Subject to satisfactory test sail is just that... you simply don't have to say your satisfied.

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I can't buy a boat because it's "pretty..."

 

Isn't that one of the most important criteria?

 

I know nothing about the company but the Alerion 41 certainly is good looking:

 

Alerion-41-Side.jpg

 

http://alerionexp.com/alerion-series/alerion-41/

 

And a very new model, launched just last March? This Sail Magazine article dated Apr 1, 2013 says "Recently, we stepped on board hull No. 1". Has a four minute video of their test, performance looks great. Price: $509,000

 

http://www.sailmagazine.com/sailboat-reviews/alerion-41

 

How common do you think it is for a half million dollar car to get test driven without a VERY SERIOUS commitment from a highly qualified buyer?

Even big ticket items the seller qualifies the potential buyer by doing their typical check on said buyer with some indication from said buyer that 500K ish is OK and possible if they like it. Still does not need to be an official offer on paper or even talk of an offer. Sounds to me like the brokers for A-boats needs to rework their choice of words and approach to the potential buyers. Someone who can spend A-boat type money is no dummy and is not going to set up any sort of contract before getting a test sail. However they are smart enough to know that they will need to convince the seller they have the $$$$ to buy the boat if they do like it.

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A very interesting topic. I've owned 5 boats. I've test sailed 3. When I bought my J/109, I test sailed it and a Beneteau 36.7 (which was seriously in the running). I had a friend very interested in a J/70 and went on a test sail with him (I can see one as a possible future boat for me). The three boats I owned before the J/109 (a J/24, Santana 30/30, and a Beneteau First 30E) and the one I bought after the J/109 (an S2 9.1) I never test sailed before I bought them. And I've loved all of them equally well, and all were good sailing boats (given what they were/are). That said, I'm considering selling my S2, and would take any perspective buyer for a sail with no issues. After all, I'm trying to close the deal. In fact, I'd try to get them to come out for a race with me. Why not? I guess there are tire kickers out there...I'm not a broker. But I don't think the industry is doing so well that they can afford to disregard a buyer with a record and some money. 5 minutes of talking to Midpack would tell me he is a legit, serious guy. So I can piss him off and have him go to someone else, or I can take him for a sale and maybe make some money. I don't get it.

 

Mid, you can come test sail my boat anytime. Don't even need to want to buy it.

 

Crash

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I can't buy a boat because it's "pretty..."

 

Isn't that one of the most important criteria?

 

I know nothing about the company but the Alerion 41 certainly is good looking:

 

Alerion-41-Side.jpg

 

http://alerionexp.com/alerion-series/alerion-41/

 

And a very new model, launched just last March? This Sail Magazine article dated Apr 1, 2013 says "Recently, we stepped on board hull No. 1". Has a four minute video of their test, performance looks great. Price: $509,000

 

http://www.sailmagazine.com/sailboat-reviews/alerion-41

 

How common do you think it is for a half million dollar car to get test driven without a VERY SERIOUS commitment from a highly qualified buyer?

1/2 A million for that ugly impractical 5knot shitbox? Fuck there really is one born ever minute!

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Alerion-41-Side.jpg

 

1/2 A million for that ugly impractical 5knot shitbox? Fuck there really is one born ever minute!

 

It is pretty. And a chick magnet. Better be a half-million chick though.

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Alerion-41-Side.jpg

1/2 A million for that ugly impractical 5knot shitbox? Fuck there really is one born ever minute!

 

It is pretty. And a chick magnet. Better be a half-million chick though.

Eye of the beholder and all that I guess. Any boat looks good painted blue!

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... That said, I'm considering selling my S2, and would take any perspective buyer for a sail with no issues. After all, I'm trying to close the deal....

 

 

I'd do the same thing with my own boat, but as a broker, I was selling someone else's boat. Often, that person was in another state.

 

When I take out someone else's boat, I consider whether I can afford to repair or replace it if something goes horribly wrong. The answer was almost always no. Given that answer, I'd want insurance. Our insurance agent made it clear: brokerage boats are covered when under contract and on a sea trial. No contract, no insurance, no boat ride.

 

I once offered a guy a ride if he could get the insurance on a boat he did not yet own. He finally got the point.

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Good point, hadn't realized the insurance aspect of it. Obviously if I take the guy out, its on my insurance...not the brokers...

 

... That said, I'm considering selling my S2, and would take any perspective buyer for a sail with no issues. After all, I'm trying to close the deal....

 


I'd do the same thing with my own boat, but as a broker, I was selling someone else's boat. Often, that person was in another state.

 

When I take out someone else's boat, I consider whether I can afford to repair or replace it if something goes horribly wrong. The answer was almost always no. Given that answer, I'd want insurance. Our insurance agent made it clear: brokerage boats are covered when under contract and on a sea trial. No contract, no insurance, no boat ride.

 

I once offered a guy a ride if he could get the insurance on a boat he did not yet own. He finally got the point.

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Some owners insisted on going on sea trials and operating their boats, but I was surprised how many wanted nothing to do with it. I don't like letting people drive my boats, even if I know they are better qualified than I am, so I'd be one of the ones who wants to come along.

 

"Here ya go, guy I barely know, go to some unfamiliar marina and back this thing into the lift slip!"

 

"No problem," I'd say. Because that's what brokers say.

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Some owners insisted on going on sea trials and operating their boats, but I was surprised how many wanted nothing to do with it. I don't like letting people drive my boats, even if I know they are better qualified than I am, so I'd be one of the ones who wants to come along.

 

"Here ya go, guy I barely know, go to some unfamiliar marina and back this thing into the lift slip!"

 

"No problem," I'd say. Because that's what brokers say.

I can absolutely appriciate this. I wouldn't let a broker allow a potential customer take my boat off of the mooring in my field. I wouldn't let the broker. It's still my boat, my responsibility and my insurance coverage. They can take the reins after the second red nun.

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I am looking at new and used. For the used Alerion, if the owner wants to come along, I'm all for it.

 

Again I offered to travel wherever (300-900 miles) and whenever (broker & seller can choose) to test sail a boat that was already in the water in every case. For the new Alerion, it was at a boat show (twice) and I asked in advance of the show if a test sail was possible "before, during or after" the show. No luck unless I essentially agreed to buy first, even giving my buying background.

 

In fairness, the other builder (our first choice) hasn't be very helpful re: test sails either. But at least it's a builder we've had good success with 3 times before.

 

Funny brand loyalty in my case is more 'fear of the unknown' (the other builder) than outright 'loyalty.'

 

Again, I think the Alerion would have been a distant second choice for our needs, and all the hassle so far makes it completely out of the question. I know there are hundreds of very happy Alerion owners all over the country.

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MidPack,

 

States have different laws and dealerships have different policies, but at the place I worked, the problem would be mostly about insurance, not logistics.

 

Yes, we'd want you to "agree to buy a boat" before taking a ride, but really, that agreement, though a written contract, was pretty meaningless for two reasons.

 

1. You're a dealership owner and a person writes a contract, pays a deposit, then decides he doesn't want the boat. Do you really want to try to force this person to buy this boat, or do you give him his money back and hope he shops at your brokerage/dealership in the near future?

 

2. If you're not all that business savvy and decide that trying to force a purchase down a customer's throat is the thing to do, at least in Florida, you'd run into a whole bunch of consumer protection laws. Keeping a deposit would be difficult if we ever tried, which we never did. Getting you to pay the balance would be insanely difficult, if possible, and would cost a LOT.

 

So you write a contract, take a ride, then say no thanks. It happens.

 

If you wrote a contract on a new boat for the list price and liked the boat, you could simply say, "I'll take it, but for this amount, or you can give me my deposit back." If "this amount" was satisfactory to the dealership, you'd have bought a boat. That happens too.

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How do you arrange an honest test sail without buying a boat?

Charter it.

 

We once wanted to try out a sportboat; but not sure if we wanted to make the deal happen even if we liked it. It was broker owned; so we did a half day charter. Only cost us a couple of hundred bucks, and we got to spend a day on the water without someone watching over us like a used car salesman on a test drive.

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Having re-thunk this, I can see MPs position if the boat is new and being sold by a dealer, especially if there aren't people lined up outside the door to buy one. I think it would be good business practise since they own the boat and have cash or cash flow tied up in it (if it is floor plan financed), so there is a need to move product.

 

On the other hand, if it is a used boat listed through a broker, then my original position holds - no offer, no deposit, no sea trial.

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I understand your position but I can clearly understand the brokers position as well. Yes there are circumstances to you that makes it less likely that you are a tire kicker but even looking in to those takes the broker time and makes each person a judgment call.

 

From the brokers point of view the willingness to make a contingent no risk offer is a better screen of serious buyers than other methods that you feel you would pass.

I'm hard headed, but you're right, it's that simple. But that means unless I can find a boat/owner on my own, I choose a boat on paper and here-say, and my second, third and fourth choices are just eliminated even though I haven't experienced them on the water - far and away what's most important to us. I've tried to test sail my first and second choices, the latter on and off for years, and it's just not going to happen. I would think the second choice seller might work with me, making an offer on my second choice just to test sail one expecting (but not knowing) to reject, seems dishonest to me - I'd rather be up front than trick my way into a test sail.

 

Thanks for all the input, I'm just hard headed, and whining by my own standards now. I'm done...

Or you call a broker to be on yoyr side of the transaction. It doesn't cost you anything. I have set potential clients up with other owners of the same boat. Many are more than willing to show off their boat and invite you aboard for a sail. Often resulting in a friendship and a great resource when you buy one. Win / win

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I'm a broker and new boat dealer in Seattle. I'm in the sailboat business because I like to sail and I am proficient at it. (not the money!) Test Sails and sea trials are the most fun I have with my job and I actually use it as a sales tool. If you want to buy a new boat from me, I am pleading with you to arrange a test sail, because I am pretty confident that experience will confirm your interest, and I will learn more about the boat and will learn quickly if you are a buyer or not.

 

With a brokerage boat, it is entirely up to the seller and I would agree that a contract should be put in place that defines price, dates, contingencies and has a refundable deposit. I'm 0 for 2 on closing transactions when we have test sailed before a contract.

 

In the boats you are looking at, it is all about the sailing so it is unfortunate that it wasn't easy for you to sail one of the boats.

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We could probably refine the discussion to the Alerion boats, which at their value, hopefully have skilled sailors as brokers and expensive insurance policies that allow for owners representatives to sail them.

 

So the question in the case of Mid Pack is how they are to treat his enquiry.

 

When selling new boats 200k to 2000k I'd test sail as a courtesy to the buyer's enquiry. No contract no offer.

When selling used boats 200k plus I'd test sail subject to price agreement including completely refundable deposit. You can complain that the ashtray is full if you like.

 

The point of the contract and deposit is to get the Vendor's interest in agreeing on price. If a buyer goes through a test sail and survey before agreement on price he risks the Vendor feeling he is in a stronger negotiating position when it may he may be unrealistic in his expectation.

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I would give a sea trial to a buyer I think is serious. MP doesn't sound serious because he's all about the test sail.

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I would give a sea trial to a buyer I think is serious. MP doesn't sound serious because he's all about the test sail.

Based on what? Did you read the background above?

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We could probably refine the discussion to the Alerion boats, which at their value, hopefully have skilled sailors as brokers and expensive insurance policies that allow for owners representatives to sail them.

 

So the question in the case of Mid Pack is how they are to treat his enquiry.

 

When selling new boats 200k to 2000k I'd test sail as a courtesy to the buyer's enquiry. No contract no offer.

When selling used boats 200k plus I'd test sail subject to price agreement including completely refundable deposit. You can complain that the ashtray is full if you like.

 

The point of the contract and deposit is to get the Vendor's interest in agreeing on price. If a buyer goes through a test sail and survey before agreement on price he risks the Vendor feeling he is in a stronger negotiating position when it may he may be unrealistic in his expectation.

 

 

Problem (for all)- providing insurance for boat being taken out for test sail

Problem (for seller)- judging buyer's intent so as not to waste time/resources

Problem (for buyer)- getting a real assessment of how the boat will perform under sail

 

How to solve all 3 of these problems? The best way I see is the traditional way... buyer looks carefully at boat and says "Yes I want to buy it -provided- I like the way it sails. Here's a deposit and a provisional contract."

 

'How the boats sails' is a stumbling block but it is easy and almost free to the seller for you to examine everything else about the boat first. If you don't like the engine access or the nav station or the cockpit layout, and you feel that you might buy it if it sails well enough to overcome these flaws, then you're really asking the seller (or seller's agent) to expend a lot of resources on a just-possibly-maybe.

 

Money talks. The best way to convince somebody that you're serious is with money. Usually when I'm boat shopping I am dressed more like the guy who came to dig a ditch than a person who might reasonably buy a yacht. But a check (and in one case, a call to our bank) is very convincing.

 

As TP said, you can always say you don't like it and get your deposit back (although you do want to read the sales contract carefully).

 

FB- Doug

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We could probably refine the discussion to the Alerion boats, which at their value, hopefully have skilled sailors as brokers and expensive insurance policies that allow for owners representatives to sail them.

 

So the question in the case of Mid Pack is how they are to treat his enquiry.

 

When selling new boats 200k to 2000k I'd test sail as a courtesy to the buyer's enquiry. No contract no offer.

When selling used boats 200k plus I'd test sail subject to price agreement including completely refundable deposit. You can complain that the ashtray is full if you like.

 

The point of the contract and deposit is to get the Vendor's interest in agreeing on price. If a buyer goes through a test sail and survey before agreement on price he risks the Vendor feeling he is in a stronger negotiating position when it may he may be unrealistic in his expectation.

 

 

Problem (for all)- providing insurance for boat being taken out for test sail

Problem (for seller)- judging buyer's intent so as not to waste time/resources

Problem (for buyer)- getting a real assessment of how the boat will perform under sail

 

How to solve all 3 of these problems? ...

 

Money talks. The best way to convince somebody that you're serious is with money. Usually when I'm boat shopping I am dressed more like the guy who came to dig a ditch than a person who might reasonably buy a yacht. But a check (and in one case, a call to our bank) is very convincing...

Better yet, print out your bank statement or investment statement showing the cash to purchase. Use marker to redact any confidential information. Scan and e-mail to seller, along with your proposed written contract. If you plan to finance, scan and e-mail your loan pre-approval.

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...

As TP said, you can always say you don't like it and get your deposit back (although you do want to read the sales contract carefully).

 

FB- Doug

 

 

Careful contract readers at the place where I worked would sometimes note that there was language in the contract to the effect that we (the brokerage) could keep part of a deposit to cover expenses incurred in a sea trial. I don't recall exactly what it said, but probably have a copy or two floating around on my computer someplace.

 

I would have happily deleted that line if a customer objected to it. As noted earlier, we just returned deposits if a buyer rejected a boat, so it never came up. Probably more of an issue for different types of brokerages than the one where I worked.

 

The problem with deleting it, as it was explained to me, was that we used a contract that was vetted by FL Yacht Brokers' association lawyers. If that contract were to be challenged in court, they would help defend it. If a broker were to wax creative and write his own contract (and altering theirs is writing your own), the association lawyers would not help.

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it seems we have 2 sides in this thread - those who think test sails are a reasonable request.., and those who think they either aren't, or are impractical.

 

the issue i see is that the anti crowd are implying that the current system works fine for sellers, and it's just that buyers are trying to cause trouble.

 

the current system is not working fine for sellers - as i said above, boats often take more than a year to sell.., that's not ok!

 

every now and then, we get a thread here from someone asking why their boat isnt selling.

 

most people will say its the price - but do those boats that take a year or more to sell typically sell for way below the asking price? maybe a few, but mostly the market just takes a really long time to unite buyer and seller.

 

maybe a market that was a bit friendlier to buyers would yield higher prices for sellers - are any sellers interested in that?

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As a broker and new boat salesman, I always wanted to get people out on boats. I figured it increased my chances of making a sale, and if I did not make a sale, at least I was on the water and not at my desk.

 

It was all those annoying owners who had the problem! ;)

 

Boat owners and dealership owners (and the finance companies who really own new boats) want them insured when on the water and do not want to be in the free boat ride business, as there is infinite demand for free boat rides.

 

Another unmentioned factor in the case of trailerable boats: the trailer. There is a big difference between a trailer that has never been in salt water and a trailer that was dipped even once. If you don't believe me, try to sell one of each.

 

Try this line: "Yeah, it's a new trailer, never registered, just ignore that rust and pay my dealership for a new trailer."

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As a broker and new boat salesman, I always wanted to get people out on boats. I figured it increased my chances of making a sale, and if I did not make a sale, at least I was on the water and not at my desk.

 

It was all those annoying owners who had the problem! ;)

 

Boat owners and dealership owners (and the finance companies who really own new boats) want them insured when on the water and do not want to be in the free boat ride business, as there is infinite demand for free boat rides.

 

... ...

 

Bingo

 

Although when selling my own boats, I generally have been willing to take people sailing since it's one of my favorite things to do anyway. Met a number of interesting people that way, including a nice couple who were "outdoorsy" but not boaters and certainly not sailor material... I never met anyody who had less aptitude for any tasks afloat or even near water. They made an offer but not full ask price so I told them "You're better off not buying a boat" and they went away rather huffily.

 

About contracts- I have -never- used a broker's "standard contract" because the wording gives them 100% of the advantages (in all the ones I have read). One of the biggies is "subject to satisfactory survey and sea trial" but doesn't specify what "satisfactory" is and satisfactory to whom. If you hear a broker talking about a boat "passing" a survey then do not take his word alone because that is not correct terminology. I want it specifically spelled out that if -I- do not like the survey findings then I don't have to take it. Deducting a given amount for sea trial expenses makes sense.

 

When we bought our trawler, I paid for fuel & for a haul-out as well as a survey, and the contract as modified by myself specifically stated completing the contract depended on -my- liking the findings. I went to the boatyard office to settle the bill and found them putting the boat back in the water, I had never sen it out. I went up to the surveyor and said casually "See anything interesting?" and he talked a little about the hull, then I went to the broker and said "I didn't see the hull or the prop or the rudder or the thru-hulls, so this does not make a satisfactory inspection." He got angry and said I'd have to pay for 2 haul-outs. I pulled my car keys out of my pocket and said to the surveyor "You already got my check, right?" They pulled the boat (boatyard crew was angry too but I bought them some beer that evening) and I checked everything myself with the surveyor looking over my shoulder for a change; net result is that my wife & I cruised in that boat happily for quite a while.

 

No tickee no laundry is the best way to conduct business, and it must be a two-way street. Any buyer who doesn't understand that doesn't need to buy a boat. Any broker who doesn't make it easy for buyers (and can be tactful explaining it all) doesn't need to sell a boat.

 

FB- Doug

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I understand your position but I can clearly understand the brokers position as well. Yes there are circumstances to you that makes it less likely that you are a tire kicker but even looking in to those takes the broker time and makes each person a judgment call.

 

From the brokers point of view the willingness to make a contingent no risk offer is a better screen of serious buyers than other methods that you feel you would pass.

I'm hard headed, but you're right, it's that simple. But that means unless I can find a boat/owner on my own, I choose a boat on paper and here-say, and my second, third and fourth choices are just eliminated even though I haven't experienced them on the water - far and away what's most important to us. I've tried to test sail my first and second choices, the latter on and off for years, and it's just not going to happen. I would think the second choice seller might work with me, making an offer on my second choice just to test sail one expecting (but not knowing) to reject, seems dishonest to me - I'd rather be up front than trick my way into a test sail.

 

Thanks for all the input, I'm just hard headed, and whining by my own standards now. I'm done...

 

 

 

We could probably refine the discussion to the Alerion boats, which at their value, hopefully have skilled sailors as brokers and expensive insurance policies that allow for owners representatives to sail them.

 

So the question in the case of Mid Pack is how they are to treat his enquiry.

 

When selling new boats 200k to 2000k I'd test sail as a courtesy to the buyer's enquiry. No contract no offer.

When selling used boats 200k plus I'd test sail subject to price agreement including completely refundable deposit. You can complain that the ashtray is full if you like.

 

The point of the contract and deposit is to get the Vendor's interest in agreeing on price. If a buyer goes through a test sail and survey before agreement on price he risks the Vendor feeling he is in a stronger negotiating position when it may he may be unrealistic in his expectation.

 

 

Problem (for all)- providing insurance for boat being taken out for test sail

Problem (for seller)- judging buyer's intent so as not to waste time/resources

Problem (for buyer)- getting a real assessment of how the boat will perform under sail

 

How to solve all 3 of these problems? The best way I see is the traditional way... buyer looks carefully at boat and says "Yes I want to buy it -provided- I like the way it sails. Here's a deposit and a provisional contract."

 

'How the boats sails' is a stumbling block but it is easy and almost free to the seller for you to examine everything else about the boat first. If you don't like the engine access or the nav station or the cockpit layout, and you feel that you might buy it if it sails well enough to overcome these flaws, then you're really asking the seller (or seller's agent) to expend a lot of resources on a just-possibly-maybe.

 

Money talks. The best way to convince somebody that you're serious is with money. Usually when I'm boat shopping I am dressed more like the guy who came to dig a ditch than a person who might reasonably buy a yacht. But a check (and in one case, a call to our bank) is very convincing.

 

As TP said, you can always say you don't like it and get your deposit back (although you do want to read the sales contract carefully).

 

FB- Doug

All well and good, but I refer you to my earlier post (above).

 

Again, I'd be more than happy to travel to the boat whenever/wherever and show beyond all doubt that we're able to buy the boat outright - that's not an issue. What you and others have proposed doesn't apply for our on paper second choice boat, and I am not keen on trying to deceive a dealer/broker, I wanted to be upfront instead.

 

So I guess I'll either take a chance on my first choice (on paper) or hold out for a test sail on one some day. But any other legitimate candidate boat (second choice only really, I don't expect to test sail anything and everything) is just out of the running, even if it might have moved up to first choice after a test sail. But I'm done asking for test sails for this year at least...it is what it is, life goes on.

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Thanks for all the input, I'm just hard headed, and whining by my own standards now. I'm done...

You said this a week ago. Everything since then has been only repetition. So now I'm done reading it! ;)

 

Cheers

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