03 November 2011 | Rio Valdivia, Chile
Hekla sailed today for the first time ever, and it was brilliant! With designer Chris White, Alex, Roni, and electrician Hector from Alwoplast, Zia and I aboard, we eased out of the slip and turned down river towards the Pacific. The engines purred nicely, the instruments were easy to read in the bright sunlight, and the ride gentle and swift as we motored downriver at 11 knots, helped a bit by the outflow current. After a number of autopilot calibration maneuvers we raised sail in about 12 knots of breeze and turned off the engines. With not too many tangles in the stiff new lines, we were soon sailing close to the wind at 7.5 knots. The rig groaned and popped as it settled into place with its first pressure under sail, and we loped into the 6 foot ocean swell with comfort and ease (except for Hector, who was still trying to hook up some interior lights, and suddenly found it necessary to sit near the outside rail). We circled through different points of sail, and with the true wind having built to 18 knots, managed to surf the boat on a broad reach to 16 knots a few times. All the while we felt secure and dry in the forward cockpit, grinning with the thoughts of how nice this boat is, comfortable, safe, swift. We popped a few autopilot fuses and bolts securing the jib boom track, but overall for a first ever sail in good breeze and ocean conditions we had very few issues. The assembly of this boat is done with great competency. We will sail again over the weekend, fly the spinnaker, and run a number of more tests. Woodworkers and the electrician are still crawling over the boat when she is at dock, and we have several more days before we are finished, but we can see the construction completion nearing! Woo Hoo!