Part 2 is here: http://blog.sailboatreboot.com/2015/04/living-aboard-and-buying-boat-part-2.html
Part 4 is here: http://blog.sailboatreboot.com/2015/04/living-aboard-household-part-4.html
The Boat of Your Dreams:
|The boat of my dreams - Limitless|
The Sea Trial:
Time for the underway under power evolution. Box the compass and motor on each point as you name them. Look at the GPS speed over ground. How much headway do you lose fighting the wind and the waves? How much do you roll in a beam sea? Are these acceptable parameters? This is the reason you chose to go out in heavier weather and higher seas. In flat seas and light winds the boat is going to handle pretty much the same on every course. As the seas and wind get worse the performance on each compass point will alter quite a bit.
OK, the moment you have been waiting for! Raise the sails. Don't let the broker raise the sails. You need to understand how hard it is to raise them. For most boats in the wind I have suggested you are going to need a reef. That is great, you will see how hard it is to put in a reef.
There are two courses that require you to return to the interior and revisit all the questions above. The first is close hauled. The second is with the waves (not the wind) on the beam. These are the two most uncomfortable points of sail to be inside a boat.
Back to the helm. Can you balance the rig? This means getting the sails set so that you don't have to steer. This takes almost all of the load off the rudder (and the electric autopilot.) In open seas you will not be able to maintain a perfect course without some input from the helm. The waves are going to bang the bow around. But you should be able to steer with one finger. With the sails balanced head upwind. How high can you point? In a 15 knot wind you are going to be able to point about as high as you will ever be able to point (at low wind speeds pointing high is very difficult.) One major drawback of catamarans (and I love them at the dock) is their inability to go up wind well. Are you happy with the pointing ability?
Head downwind. Everything should calm down. You may want to do this step underway or wait until you get back to the dock. It is, simply, turn on every piece of electronics on the boat and see if it works. And I do mean everything.
Back at the dock:
- Go over every sail both on the rig and in bags. Are they blown out? (in other words, if you put your mouth on the sail and try to blow air through the sail can you do it. If you can the sail is dead.) Is there broken stitching? Are the luff cords taken up tight? (this means the sail is stretched and the luff cords have been used to try to retain some shape.)
- Look at all of the lines: sheets, halyards, dock lines. Are they frayed? Are they stiff? A new halyard on a bigger boat can cost $200 to $300. Dock lines are #40 each.
- How old is the upholstery? Does it show signs of wear? Replacing it, even if you do most of the work is a several thousand dollar evolution.
- Look at the dodger and the bimini. Is the cloth old? Are the windows brittle? Again, big bucks if they fail.
- Look in the bilge. Is the water clear? Is there oil in the bilge?
- Check the engine oil. Is it reasonably clean? Does it look as if it has been changed in the last century?
- Look at the tail shaft. Is it leaking more than a drip every once in a while?
- Finally, open every single compartment on the boat. Are they wet? Do they smell? Is there any sign of critter (bugs or mammal) infestation? Getting rid of bugs on a boat with EPA approved chemicals is an exercise in frustration. If they are wet after your sail they will always be wet. Not a useful place to store things.
- If possible take a pressure washer and spray all the windows and where the mast penetrates the deck. Do things leak?