Wednesday, June 8, 2016: the wind is blowing 25 to 30 knots gusting into the 40s, with intermittent rain squalls. Those who know the history of the Chirakowa Apache chief after whom FPB 78-1 is named would say, “Perfect.”
Cochise is floating level in both directions, as expected, and maneuvers like a well-trained war pony. A bit light on payload, in the ebbing tide, Cochise can be quickly spun in either direction. Even though the individual at the the controls is three and a half years out of touch, Cochise allows precise control without the need to resort to a bow (or stern) thruster. Not liking the first dock pinned by the gale, a bow spring, 43 degrees of port rudder, 1200 RPM on the port engine, and Cochise rotates 90 degrees and is backing cleanly across the narrow channel.
20 meters off the dock, in four seconds flip the helm from neutral to hard to port, starboard engine ahead, port reverse, and with a few meters of leeward drift Cochise has rotated another 90 degrees.
Coming now around to the leeward side of the dock, with FPB 64-11 a little over a boat length north of the Whangarei pilot boat (also a Circa build), Cochise comes into the dock at 90 degrees, with the gale blowing on the port bow. A bow spring is handed over from the platform above the anchor, made fast on the pier, and then Cochise rotates upwind with deceptive ease.
At 1500 RPM, with engine room and other bulkheads still to be sealed, the noise level in the great room barely measures 52dB. Dock trials will take a week. Then sea trials begin.