USA-26 One Life J/99

After several starts and stops due to work conflicts, the stars finally aligned to travel from Seattle to Point Richmond and the Richmond Yacht Club and — courtesy of the fine folks at Sail California — J/99 USA-04. Ben Braden from Sail Northwest came down and sailed with Kris and I.

How’d it go? Well, look at all the smiles!

Walking up to USA-04 at the dock, my first impression was she was much bigger than I had pictured in my mind. While I conceptually knew going from Dragonfly (my 1969 Columbia 26 Mk II) to a 99 decimeter boat was a big jump, seeing her in person for the first time really made it sink in.

After the initial shock, though, I was OK. After all, how could I not be with lines this sweet?

It wasn’t a very windy day, perhaps 10-ish knots. But she was impressive. When you fall off a little to build speed coming out of tacks, you can actually feel her accelerate under you.

At first, I thought it was perhaps just wave action. After a few times, though, I realized she was just that responsive. That, plus the beautiful day on the Bay, made for lots of smiles.

We also got a chance to see the inside. We were really impressed by the 6′ headroom, space in the quarterberths, and how comfortable the cabin area was.

Galley on USA-04

Of course, most of my photos consisted of the rigging and the technical parts of the boat. Sorry about that for those wanting more pics of the inside.

I would have liked to stay out longer, or even race her a few times, but buying a new boat is an odd thing. You pretty much have to do it on faith. Trust the builder, trust the design, and trust your gut.

After test sailing USA-04, my gut said, “Write the check.” So I did. Now we wait to learn my hull number and delivery date.

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