Making an offer on a boat without test sail and a marine survey is not wise. After the sellers had accepted our offer, we scheduled the test sail and survey on adjacent dates, made a mini-vacation out of it, and stayed overnight at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square in Oakland. We drove down and met our boat broker, Elvis, who had brought Mike with him to help out. Mike had actually had a little experience sailing a Nonsuch. He also ended up being the “muscle” as the huge sail can be a bit of a bear to raise – especially since, as we found out pretty quickly, the main winch needs some servicing… it goes backwards as well as forwards. Elvis motored the boat out of the maze that is Grand Marina and into the Oakland Inner Harbor Channel between Alameda Island and Oakland. Once Mike had the sail up, Elvis said, “So who’s going to be captain?”
“ME!! I squeaked.”
“Well get on over here and take the helm!”
I scrambled over (it is a small cockpit) and grabbed wheel in a death grip.
There was a nice breeze, and Scat! heeled over and took off! She was amazingly sensitive to any touch – far more than I had expected. With gentle coaching from Elvis, we tacked back and forth in the narrow channel, tried a controlled jibe, which ended up not-so-controlled, and decided to turn around when an enormous container ship looked as though it was headed our way. It was awesome. We then fired up the engine and put her through some more paces. She turns on a dime. As far as we were concerned, she passed with flying colours. Elvis then took the helm, and motored us around into the slightly dilapidated dock where the survey would be performed the next day.
Then, giddy with excitement, we made our way to Jack London Square for a night out on the town. Well, ok, dinner and an early night. We had to get up early to meet Elvis and Richard, the surveyor.