GPS Position: 30° 50’ .220 N. 86° 44’ .270 W.
We’ve spent the better part of these past two weeks working with the sub-contractor, who is doing the warranty work for Hunter, and testing the various systems on the boat. Testing requires lots of time going over the various manuals, testing and retesting the electronics and taking the boat out on the water for field trials. Every spare minute that we’re not working is spent with the boat. If we’re not on the boat, we’re doing something that’s boat related. It’s like being back in college and cramming for a final exam.
Choctawhatchee Bay is where all of the field trials were conducted. It’s the perfect place to make the trial runs, as it has several miles of protected water, no current and, if required, emergency assistance. As each trial was completed, we'd bring the boat back into the marina and make any necessary adjustments or changes in the rigging.
The Hunter 45CC sails well under most conditions. It’s very light under the helm, turns on a dime and heels as if it had a full keel, instead of a finned, bulb keel. It’s ¾ rig makes handling the sails a dream and all aspects of sailing can be easily performed, single handed, from within the cockpit. Under full sails, and in 17 knots of breeze, we’ve had the boat making 7.8 Kts over ground. That's really good for a boat that’s only 39’ at the water line. We’re very fortunate to have a super group of people helping us with getting the boat set-up correctly. Walter and Greg, from Bluewater Bay Yachts, and Joe Ederer, who’s sailing experience spans some six decades, have spent many hours with us on the water. Having been a power boater up until now, it’s been great to have the benefit of their combined knowledge.
With each excursion on the Bay, we can feel our confidence growing. Yet, at the same time, it becomes more and more clear that the sea is unforgiving of mistakes or too much bravado on the part of the sailor. Hopefully, we are learning our lessons well and combining our old powerboat knowledge with our newly learned sailing skills.
Soon, we’ll be at the point where we can take the boat out unassisted and run her through her paces alone. Until then, it’s practice, practice, practice and getting ready for retirement and life on the sea.