Frustrated by high winds of 30-35 knots, we were prevented from getting YYZ off the dock all week. Finally, by Friday there was a break in the wind. And then it started raining. But we didn't let that stop us. YYZ slipped her lines at 10:00 this morning and motored out through the swing bridge at Shaw's Cove, and into New London Harbor, the submarine capital of the world.
We had all the electronics turned on: fridges, winches, bow thruster, sailing instruments, navigation electronics, radar, auto pilot, VHF/AIS and, of course, the stereo. Having tested all the systems and performed an extended simulation at the dock earlier in the week, it was time to see everything perform for real, including the completely redesigned and seriously beefed up electrical system (see: Dockside Electronics, Mastervolt, and Port Niantic under The Gear section of YYZ.IO).
Once in Long Island Sound we carefully cleared all the lines from the foredeck, unfurled the genoa, and started sailing. Then, motor off, we raised the mainsail, ever so carefully, checking every few inches to make sure nothing was amiss. We alternated between ginger taps on the electric power winches and manually cranking the old fashioned way with the winch handles, just to make sure nothing was being forced. Initially we couldn't get the mainsail all the way up but we dropped the sail a little, raised it again, tacked the boat, and eventually got the sail all the way to the top of that really tall mast. The shape of both sails was very satisfying.
One of the things I was eager to test was the ability of the vessel to heave to. This is a time honored heavy weather tactic and many modern light displacement boats with fin keels don't heave to very well - and many sailors have simply never done it. I suspected that YYZ would probably have a better chance of heaving to given her weight distribution, balance, and relatively longer keel compared to a deep but narrow fin. We tacked the boat, leaving the genoa sheet on its leeward, now windward winch, brought the wheel all the way over, and YYZ rewarded us by standing into the wind, perfectly still. She passed that test beautifully.
We sailed for three hours, tacking, gybing, pointing, reaching, running. Our speed was 6-8 knots in about 12-15 knots of wind.
At Race Rock, on the western end of Fisher's Island, we considered taking Fisher's Island to the north and sailing all the way around on the outside. In fact, we fantasized about continuing all the way to Stamford. That's how satisfied we were with the sea trial and how confident we were with the boat. But prudence prevailed and we decided to head back in to Shaw's Cove, having accomplished what we wanted to.
It was a really good shakeout, executed very carefully, with lots of caution and "slow" thinking about all our actions to make sure nothing went wrong. What a great day!