A few weeks after we bought our sailboat, Nick and I were finally able to return to New Jersey for a sailing orientation and boat overview. We were both incredibly excited for the trip and to finally get out on the water on our new boat. Thankfully we had warmish weather and good winds.
Unlike the Chesapeake Bay, where we’ll be bringing our boat in spring, the Delaware River has a large tidal swing, and since our boat has nearly a 5-foot deep keel, we needed to get out for a sail and back in to the marina within a three-hour window of high tide (running our boat aground was not something we wanted to do on our first sailing trip).
We were joined on the boat by Lee, a third-generation sailor and classic boat maker. He was very knowledgeable about sailing and our boat, and he gave us so much great advice during our two days with him.
We were so lucky to be joined out on the water by some friends we’d made at the marina – they actually came to the dealer to buy our boat the day before we did, but then fell in love with another model. They followed us out of the marina for a sail and took a few pictures of Nick and me on our boat’s maiden sail.
I’m so happy to have these photos and memories of our first time out on the water, we’ll likely never get pictures like these again (well at least not until Nick finally wears me down and buys himself a drone).
Nick and I stayed overnight on the boat (which thankfully has heat for late-October nights on the water), and the next morning Lee returned and we spent several hours opening every single cabinet and floorboard to inspect the batteries, engine, water systems, bilge (or the lowest compartment of the boat), and even the anchor locker in the bow.
Lee shared with us some great advice about how to operate and maintain all our electrical, mechanical and water systems, and I took about six pages of notes, which will be incredibly helpful in the future.
One notable event happened that afternoon: Boats are built with thru-hulls, basically holes in the boat that are needed for plumbing and fuel lines. There is a thru-hull on the very bottom of the boat that is fitted with a tranducer, a device that shows the boat’s speed through the water. Lee wanted to show Nick and me how to remove the transducer and quickly replace it with a plug during extended absences…except the gasket on the plug was cracked and it took several attempts to get it in right, during which time water gushed into our boat. I’m known for my dramatic storytelling, but even Nick would admit it was a harrowing few moments, when sinking our brand new boat seemed like a real possibility. Thankfully boats are made to take on water and our bilge water pump turned on immediately and started pumping the water back outside!
Unfortunately, that was our last visit to the boat for the season. Until spring, it now looks like this…on jack stands in the boat yard (or on the hard as the sailors say) 😉
We’ve spent the off-season making preparations for re-lauching the boat in early-April and bringing it down to D.C. (which will be a two-day journey). We’ve secured our slip at a marina on the Cheseapeake Bay just south of Annapolis; Nick and I both completed our Maryland boater safety courses and have started to re-read our sailing books; and we took advantage of holiday sales to buy bedding, galley kitchenware, and other boating supplies, so we’ll be fully stocked for spring. Now we are just waiting for old Mother Nature! 🙂