Lorelette has blogged our trip up to Princess Louisa and back with her usual aplomb. I’m going to add a few notes, primarily about technical issues.
First, Braesail is one well-found vessel. She is solid, strong, and very comfortable. Moody’s knew exactly what they were doing in making an ocean sailing cruiser. We have almost the same tactile sense as Sagres, but without any “I’m driving a truck” heaviness. It’s quite amazing. She handles well—deceptively so—almost like a much smaller boat.
Second, Braesail is big. She can’t be manhandled, and has a huge amount of momentum (and yes, that’s why she is so sea-kindly).
Third, I think Moody’s never met a line that it didn’t think could be made better by making bigger. Over the winter, I’ll be replacing most of the control lines with lines that are 1/8″ to 1/4″ smaller. Those that have been changed out are so much better.
Fourth, boats are meant to be used. As we progressed through the three weeks, things just got better (and got fixed). The only way that I know of finding the things which need to be fixed is to use the boat, find what doesn’t work the way it should, and make it work.
Fifth, that being said, some short weekend jaunts would have made for a better testing scenario. That was planned, but when the guys at Marine-Tec US were able to fit us in for the heating system refit before heading out, we jumped at it, and I’m glad we did, as it gave us a good chance for some easy testing on a complex system. The time out of the water allowed us to deal with a number of flaws in work that we had done in Marina del Rey (Lesson learned, yet again: many suppliers and workers in the marine industry treat your boat as if it were a toy, rather than a collection of life-critical system. Makes me think that there should be an accrediting board for boat yards). Never trust anyone to work on your boat that you can’t see—on a regular basis—eye-to-eye.
And some random notes: we downsized the prop on Braesail from 20×15 to 20×13. The engine is working much more efficiently, though it does take a few more RPMs to come up to speed. As a result, our fuel consumption went from 1.2 gal/hr to .8 gal/hr, and that’s without separating out the heating system consumption.
And that leads to the commissioning list for 2017. What should be done to make it possible to cruise and live aboard Braesail in a carefree manner?
- upgrade the charging system: add a larger alternator and solar array
- rethink large storage (like the spinnaker)
- replace all old lines—particularly on the davits
- bring safety systems up to snuff: fire extinguishers, gas detectors
- replace lighting with LEDs
- deal with refrigerator insulation
- rethink cockpit enclosure for better access to winches and lines and better egress and ingress
- add some sort of WiFi/cell repeater (probably needed at the dock, for that matter)
And, of course, more sailing to gain greater facility with the boat!
All in all, it’s been great to get to know Braesail and to work through her systems. See you on the water!