Cruising

Boat Test Checklist

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A professional boat test involves more than just an afternoon daysail. Using SAIL’s boat-test checklist could help make you a much more informed shopper By Bill Springer

Friends show me no pity when I tell them I’m off to test another boat, but in reality, boat testing can be hard work. Digging into a bilge, poking behind cabinets, under floorboards, and into the engine compartment to find a boat’s good (and potentially bad) points requires skill, knowledge, and experience. Just as important is attention to detail and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and look for what the dealers and the brochures may not tell you. Of course, a boat test should give a potential buyer an idea of the boat’s most important characteristics—how it performs under sail in certain weather conditions—but you’re cheating yourself of vital information if you gloss over the less glamorous aspects of a test. If you really want to see what makes a prospective boat tick (and clear evidence of what you’re paying for), use this checklist on your next test. It is condensed from the 28-page checklist we use on our boat tests. Take copious notes on everything you find, and start your evaluation before the sails go up.

Click here to download the checklist.

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