Sea Trials

This two-hour event lets you sample many of the motor yachts we have at the Windward Yacht Center. Take the helm of a motor yacht with an instructor at “cruising speeds” on-the-water sea run. 

About Seal Trials

sea trial is a fancy term for a test drive, designed to test a boat’s seaworthiness. Surveyors use sea trials as an opportunity to test speed and maneuverability, as well as check for vibrations and observe other systems that can only be tested in the water

When it comes performing a sea trial, there are a few main steps you should follow:

  1. Create a “real-life” environment on the boat to accurately replicate a typical day.
  2. Be sure to test performance targets, and ask your dealer about horsepower options.
  3. Play the role of both driver and passenger.
  4. Look at engine trim, consider how you will use the boat (water sports, fishing, etc.)
  5. Bring the boat to 30 MPH, perform a hard turn, and if possible, test conditions in rough waters.
  6. At no-wake speeds, center the wheel and note how well the boat keeps its line.
  7. Run both into and away from the sun—check for glare and reflections.

While on The Water

On the water, play the role of both driver and passenger. As driver, make note of your visibility, particularly in terms of the captain’s forward vision when accelerating onto plane or the ability to easily see over passengers seated in a bow cockpit. Engine trim, transom-mounted trim tabs and even flip-up seat bolsters can be used to improve forward vision but should never compensate for an under powered craft with an extended time to plane.

Bring the boat to 30 mph, check behind for traffic, then crank a hard-over turn to each side. Ideally, the boat should carve cleanly and powerfully through the turn without the engine struggling to maintain speed or the propeller losing its bite on the water.

Head into rough water (or make your own with a series of S-turns) and cross several wakes at varying speeds. Though the effects of rough water can’t be eliminated, a well-designed hull will carve confidently through wakes while limiting any serious bumps or jarring from disturbing passengers. Listen for any rattles and vibrations; if present, they may be an easy fix but if not you may want to compare the craft’s performance to another brand. At no-wake speeds, center the wheel and note how well the boat keeps its line. Single stern drive or outboard-powered boats sometimes have a tendency to wander at slow speeds, but the effect is usually minimized by trimming the engine up slightly and avoiding the tendency to over steer in an attempt to correct the problem.