Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shake Down Cruise

We have been in Florida this week preparing the boat for a trip back to Texas and getting familiar with all of her systems.  After doing the must do's.  Learning where all seacocks are and checking them, Changing the oil, Verify plumbing and electrical and make minor tweaks as needed, Review all engine manuals and electronics, stow 2 car loads of "stuff" and make a list of the money I will spend at the Ship Store, wire in additional fans for the trip back, passage planning and feeding it into the GPS from the computer, validate all radio communication works.  validate propane and stove along with electrical cut off, install fire extinguishers, install CO2 detectors and smoke detectors, add placards and other Coast Guard requirements, mount outboard on start davit, add grill to boat, stow dinghy on read deck, review lighting, flag and bell requirements for vessel size and add to boat if needed.  I know there is more but it was a whirl wind week where Deb did work all day and I started on boat projects after work each day.
That said, the boat is just about ready, We return next week to provision and take off at our first weather window.

Thursday we did our first shake down cruise.  All started well with a smooth run out of the slip and into the bayou where the marina is.  A quick call to the Bridge tender and up went the drawbridge and we were soon out in Saint Andrews Bay.  She drives nicely forward.  Reverse like most sail boats is a bit of a hope and a prayer.  I will say that while practicing in open water, she really just goes in a circle to starboard when in reverse, so I was already a bit worried about getting her backed into the slip when we were through.  We motored through the channel toward the Gulf of Mexico and tested out the AutoHelm (Autopilot).  She worked pretty well but eventually went into standby mode on her own and I am not sure why.  (I ended up rewiring the control head in the navigation station below and we will have to see if that makes it better, I hope so as hand steering for 30 hours straight in the Gulf doesn't sound like fun).
She tracks great, steady and doesn't wander with no hand on the helm.

We enjoyed a few hours of tooling around the bay and checking out all the boat systems.  Made note to self that I have to rig up a way to reef the sails as they have reefing points by no goose neck hook and no reefing lines on the sail at all.
Maiden Voyage on Last Affair (Easy Helm)

Deb standing on the aft deck looking back toward the cockpit. (I think she was looking for dolphins)

Another call to the Bridge Tender and a request for proper etiquette when calling for bridge openings later in our trip and up went the bridge, all the while he shared with us the proper way to call for bridge openings and the best way to address the tender.  We motored through the bridge into the bayou and we were able to put her backward in her slip as if we had been together for years.  No hard throttle or line tugging, just a gentle touch on the helm, took our time, let the wind help where it could and just slipped her in beautifully.

As we left, we thought about the next time we are here it will be the last and we will be heading back to Texas on our first real trip of any length (more than overnight) and our first time in the ocean by ourselves.  Nervous, sure, excited more than anything.  Smooth sailing and looking forward to next week.. 

No comments:

Post a Comment