Sea Trial For Our Ocean Voyaging Sailboat

by Leslie Godfrey in ,

November 3, 2012

Sea Trial

After months of thinking and reading, looking and fretting, negotiating and needling -- it was time to get into the thick of it all and see if Sonrisa is our girl.  The weekend of November 3-5, 2012, we headed back down to San Diego to complete a sea trial, structural survey, engine survey and rig survey.  On Saturday morning, we headed down and spent the day getting settled in.  Staying at the Bay Club, we had an awesome room with a patio overlooking the marina.  That afternoon, we headed over to the boat just to say hello and prepare for all the work to be done in the next couple of days. 

On Sunday we ate a leisurely breakfast, and took a walk along shelter island.  We visited a couple marinas where we might slip the boat, and took a tour of the open slips.  We imagined how it would be to back her in or out.  We met everyone for the sea trial at 11:00 a.m.  The owner backed her out and it was a little hairy, but we made it.  She motored smoothly, and we hauled the sails up.  Andrew started driving, but he eventually handed the helm to me.

She felt aweome.  

Although there was no measurable swell to speak of, the wind measured anywhere from 9 to 20 knots through the course of the day.  We launched all of her sails, and with both head sails and the main up she cruised along at 6 knots of boat speed in 10 knots of wind.  

As the wind piped up, I my heart raced even faster “new boat fever”.  In every other boat I have ever steered, you have to use a fair amount of shoulder/arm force to resist the tug of the wind or water once it is overpowered.  The boat always wants to round up into the wind.  Sailors call this "weather helm".  With Sonrisa, she remained balanced and responsive to the lightest touch even as we hit 20 knots with full sail up.  I pretty much steered the rest of the sea trial with a fat grin on my face.  We got her into place for the next mornings' haul out, and we met the owner's wife on the dock. They shared some of their sea stories, and hopefully, they felt a little bit better about handing Sonrisa over to us. 

After we all parted ways, Andrew and I headed back to the room.  We sat on the patio outside of our hotel room, listened to a guy playing the guitar for a dock party in the marina below the hotel, and drank a glass of wine.  We replayed the day's fun in our head.  We headed next door to dinner at Humphries.  Humphries had a hip atmosphere, with windows over looking the dark marina and Point Loma hillside.  There, we ordered some tasty Calamari with a Stone IPA for an appetizer.  For dinner, we had the most amazing Tarragon Risotto with Sautéed Swordfish and shrimp with a tasty tomato sauce.  We drank a deeply rich Pinot Noir. The wine was perfect with the Risotto, and we talked about how much we will enjoy the marinas, the weather, the food.  After dinner, we warmed up in the hot tub at the hotel, and hit the hay early again.

We dreamed of Sonrisa, tied up to the dock, waiting to be hauled out in the morning.