On Saturday, April 1st we officially took delivery of our new boat. (April Fool’s, anyone? We hope not.). We moved aboard that afternoon. It was kind of a heady moment, something that we had anticipated for roughly a year. And now it was real. Unbelievably, the sun magically came out from behind the clouds. We took a bottle to the flybridge to try to relax and let it all soak in. The next morning the sun came out also. Good omens of times to come.
The next few days were all about getting our gear on board, figuring out how things worked and where to stow stuff, and getting electronics done.
New friends, fellow water rats, arrived with champagne (and salmon he had caught and smoked himself) to help us celebrate. On cue, the sun came out as we clamored up onto the flybridge to savor the moment.
We did an electronics sea trial to get all the Garmin gear set up. This was her second time out, but our first time under way on the boat, and was yet another heady thrill. She felt nice under way, and pretty gosh-darned-easy for us sailboaters who had never run a power boat before. Still, so much to learn.
By Thursday, still with some unfinished items on the punch list and with some bad weather in the forecast, we decided Enuf! and resolved to leave the dock. We had a one-day weather window before a gale moved in, and nice as LaConner is, we didn’t want to be pinned down for another three days. The shakedown cruise got under way.
We cast off the lines and headed out from Trawler Row for the first time on our own. Did I say something about heady thrills? With everything new and different, there was a steady drip of low-level adrenaline as we wound our way south down the Swinomish Canal and out into the open but sheltered waters of Skagit Bay. From there we turned north. The southeasterly was gray and we were pelted by scattered rain showers. The pilot house was warm, dry and comfy.
We thought for our first run we would make it memorable by heading for Deception Pass. At a leisurely eight to nine knots, the view of the bridge as we turned west into the Pass was impressive. We pushed through the Pass against three to four knots of current. Bruce used this adventure as an opportunity to “see what she would do.” Throttle down, we powered up to twelve, fourteen, seventeen knots. Easy-peasy, and very comfortable for us, although the pups weren’t very happy with the noises. We saved the full-throttle twenty-knot thrill for another time.
As we came out of the Pass, the chop kicked up and the power helped steady the boat out. We kept the pressure on as we scooted past Bowman Bay and up inside Burrows Bay, enjoying the views and getting accustomed to the feel of the boat. By the time we passed Skyline Marina and Fidalgo head, the weather had dried up and the breeze and chop were quieter. We slowed to a more leisurely nine knots and bore away to the north and east into Guemes Channel. Our plan was to hang in Anacortes for a day or two while the forecast gale blew through.
We wound our way in through Cap Sante Marina. Our arrival in the slip was, I must say, flawless. This was a blessing as the Anacortes Spring Boat Show was just getting under way and we had a substantial audience for our performance. They could not have known the high levels of anxiety we (or I, anyway) experienced as I brought her alongside. My relief at not damaging the boat (or our neighbors in the slip) and not embarrassing ourselves, was huge.
The sun came out AGAIN! as we settled in for the evening. We took advantage of this unique moment to enjoy a bottle of home-fermented wine given to us by Frank, one of the guys at Tomco, on the flybridge. Thank-you Frank for this very special moment.