We are going somewhere, people! The Coast Guard finally sent us our paper work 🙂 Beyond excited, as we’ve been anxiously waiting for this moment. After 58 days, we’ve finally taken the boat out of the slip. Sea trials are meant to test the “seaworthiness” of the boat, electronics, crew, and all of our equipment. Anything that could possibly break or go wrong we WANTED it to happen during this trip in order to work through any major issues before our Gulf Stream crossing. Obviously we were hoping for none but we had some engine hiccups at the end. Here’s how it all went down…I only had my iPhone with me to capture the day (didn’t want to risk the Nikon)
Sea Trial planning:
We spent two full days planning for our sea trial including replacing our mainsheet block, unfurling/furling the sails, re-fixing winches, running the motor, stowing all items below and giving the deck and cockpit a good scrub down. We’re also smart enough to know that we wanted help/moral support on our trip out so we asked our friend, Captain Don. Big factors in this decision were not only his experience and his willingness to let Brent and I ask him as many questions but for some additional real-life training. Cap’n Don will give it to you straight, he’s also very encouraging, calm, and passionate about sailing. He’s amazing to work with – contact him!
Monday, February 26, 2018:
We got started at 7am, I did about 50 more walk throughs of the entire boat before we left the dock to make sure everything was securely stowed (hyper paranoid about this and read a lot of horror stories), making sure Brent had his electronics, gloves, sunscreen, water, breakfast. I picked up some bagels and coffee for the guys and also took a dramamine tablet (1 hour before starting). Wow, did we have great weather or as Cap’n Don would say “a beautiful day at the office” (I love that) high of 80, clear skies, winds 10-15 and 2-footers.
By 8:15 we were ready to leave the dock, unplugged the electric, untied all the lines and backed out. Brent managed everything from the helm and inside the cockpit with Cap’n Don at the stern as I stood at the bow with the other Don (Brents brother) to keep a look out of any other boats/traffic coming as we made our way out of the marina and into the canal. Docking was a concern of mine and communication is so crucial during this. You’ve got 44-feet of sailboat behind you, with an engine running, so you have to yell really really loud as well as hand signal. We went from the Dania cut-off canal to the Intracoastal waterway (Port Everglades) and into the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Miami/Ft. Lauderdale where we were able to turn off the motor and put the sails up! Yay! 🙂 Wind was great for us to do a lot of tacking and jibing. Which allowed for me to see Brent in action and get comfortable with the wheel and steering, as well as listening and taking note of what both the boat and Brent will need next. The water was wide open for us so we just went for it on testing out everything we possibly could. A little after 10am we decided to roll in the sails and motor back in.
Give or take a few miles out from the marina, making our way back into the Intracoastal and a very loud beeping noise starts coming from within the cockpit. Is the engine overheating!!? Just barely, the water temp gauge was hovering right at 80 (green/red line), enough to where the alarm came on and we shut off the engine immediately! With the engine now off, we’re just kinda floating as we decide our next move, calling a tow! However, the wind is still giving us a good push. Nice part about a sailboat is in the right conditions you don’t need to rely on just a motor. So, Cap’n Don suggested “we’ve got the wind lets keep her moving!” At this point Cap’n Don and Brent had taken over the sails, while I helped with the VHF radio as the tow boat was behind us on standby. The other boats behind us were looking at us like we were crazy, four people in a 44-foot sailboat tacking from left to right in a no wake zone going towards the Dania cut-off canal. The guys did a great job under what is a very stressful situation and we made it half way up into Port Everglades before the tow boat finally picked us up and pulled us to the marina. The engine was radiating heat so we weren’t able to touch or look at anything until it cooled down (next day). So we took a long nap, ordered pizza, and reflected on our first sea trial together.
Overall, the day was great! I didn’t get sea sick (sorry Brent, you’re a champ!) And we gained some great experience, like (me) learning how to use the VHF radio to call for an emergency tow, haha! Currently “diagnosing” the issue and we’ve got some engine work to do this week. Then we’ll get her back out on the water for round two. #boatlife
Cheers from the marina!