It's either dropping into position or it isn't. First thing to survey
once the water
is deep enough.
If you're in a travel lift
you might coordinate to lower it from the sling to see condition and movement/play. I'd do that after the sea trial.
Check carefully around the trunk for structural failure (cracks). Check the cable thoroughly while it pays out. Check that it locks into position confidently. Check the forward edge for evidence of groundings. Check truck/stability during a gusty sea trial sail.
It is a moving part. Are you planning crossings or is your sailing recreational weekends and an annual cruise
? The latter can go decades with just inspection
While lifting keels are more expensive to build, sliding into that thinwater cove IS what it is all about for some of us.
keels are an option to consider between single
fixed and lifting - again more expensive to construct a single
keel. Play the tide and a bulge keeler will land you in that same cove without the beaching legs hassle.
Pick a certain physical point (outer buoy) in your home harbor where you always start cranking it up.