Chesapeake Bay, even on a sunny day this past October, was the color of tarnished pewter, tinged with pale green. Winds blew down the bay, bouncing between 13 and 25 knots for most of the afternoon. The H65 Café Racer danced over the moderate seas at a daylong average of nearly 10 knots-at one point holding 9.5 knots under double-reefed mainsail and small staysail. Typical of Tripp's recent designs, Available has a plumb stem, fine entry, and U-shape sections below the waterline forward, transitioning to semi-elliptical sections through amidships and flatter still in the after sections. The shape perfectly marries seakindliness and low wetted surface area with minimal wave-making resistance-a trait shared by all of Tripp's designs I've sailed. Although we had more than enough wind to test our suspicion that Available could easily exceed the time-honored speed/length ratio of 1.34, we had only a lightweight asymmetrical spinnaker, and Captain John-Paul (JP) DeRoy felt that we didn't have enough sea room. Hank Hinckley, production manager at Hodgdon Yachts, thought that the spinnaker we had aboard wasn't heavy enough to cope with the wind and wasn't willing to risk blowing it to shreds. Also on board with me that day were Graham Wright, the owner's project manager; Jonathan Chapman, Available's listing broker and an experienced sailor from Northrop and Johnson; and two of JP's friends, Tom Tanner and his first mate Tracy, who run a 75-foot iteration of the Café Racer concept. JP lowered the bow and stern thrusters and eased us off the dock, all the while holding the yacht parallel to the float until we cleared the boat in front and the one behind us. We picked our way through the impossibly crowded mooring field in Back Creek and motored at 7 knots toward deeper water. This speed seemed effortless, the Volvo Penta auxiliary humming quietly within its home amidships under the centerline settee of the dinette. When the chart showed deep water on all sides and ahead of us, we lowered the keel, which is powered by a Harken hydraulic system. Lowering and lifting the keel wants patience from the crew, because moving 12 tons of lead through 5 feet simply requires a certain amount of time-I'd say a few minutes, though I failed to record the actual number. As the keel lowered, water rushing over its surface sent up a shudder. Following common practice in the design of high-performance yachts, Tripp gave the H65 a hydrodynamic keel of short chord (fore-and-aft dimension). It wears a torpedo-shape ballast bulb on the tip. This style of keel requires sharp helmsmanship in light air to keep it from stalling. The big, balanced rudder-which penetrates the water to a depth roughly equal to that of the keel when it's fully raised-contributes to the yacht's overall lateral resistance. Steering was impressively quick and accurate.