Learn how to do a yacht test like the professionals with Yachting Monthly's full guide. We'll show you exactly what to look for when you're trialling any potential boat.

Sooner or later most yachtsmen need to do their own boat testing, usually because they are planning to buy on.

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boat test guide

So how do we test boats? It pays to approach the trials in a structured way. We apply an entirely different set of criteria to testing a blue water yacht, a cross-Channel sprinter or a steady family workhorse. You will have a slightly different approach because you should already have a set of criteria defining the boat you want.

You need to be clear what these are and make sure the boat ticks all the right boxes. We need to judge a boat according to what the designer intended. You have to prove she suits your kind of sailing. But the testing process is ultimately the same.

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Before the test
Our boats tests, and yours too, should starts well before the day of sailing by reading the specifications, studying drawings and background material, visiting boat shows and talking to the builders or agents.

Try to get a look at the boat out of the water so you can examine the underwater profile. Ask yourself how the keel and rudder configuration will affect stability, stiffness and directional control? Will the hull form be comfortable in a seaway? Will she be easily driven in light airs? I have a thing about the forefoot of a yacht. In my view, it needs to be deeply immersed for for comfortable cruising and good control and Veed for a soft motion in high seas.

Click here to see the full guide to testing a boat yourself

You can buy and download a printable version of the boat test guide here