Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back Home

We left Fort Peirce with promises of lighter wind in the afternoon and a plan to hug the coast. It didnt turn out that way. We probably should have waited till the afternoon and checked to see for ourselves whether or not it really was dying down, but it was getting late, and we were begining to worry that we might not be able to make the ship in time. We got towed out by Vessel Assist because the current and waves were too much for Wild Eyes' little engine. We tried to sail but with the conditions being wind on the nose and the Gulf Stream against us we weren't making enough headway. We decided our best bet was to give tacking a shot, but it didnt work out quite as nicley as we had hoped.

Now tacking isn't a bad thing and often works fine but we were hardly able to make any head way. we were tacking every 15 to 20 minutes and were going at top 7 knots. We began to realize that we wouldn't be getting much sleep that night. I can safely say that was one of the hardest parts of the entire trip.

The night dragged on forever, but eventually it did start to get light out. We were all exhausted and had come only 40 miles. We decided to pull into West Palm Beach. In order to run the auto pilot we had to use the engine for charging. But that had broken down during the night. It turned out we had gone over a lobster pot. The marker on it was a little stick which would have been hard enough to see during the day let alone at night! It had wrapped itself around the strut and shaft and actually broke the strut. We couldn't do anything about it where we were so we would just have to be towed back out when the weather changed. It was great getting to sleep, though I don't remember falling asleep... just waking up at 6 the next morning with Vessel Assist there to tow us out.

That day was amazing and a great way to end the trip! We had about 10 knots of wind and were making about 8 knots boat speed. We went just as far as we had the entire day before in only a few hours. The auto pilot had broken, but it was such a nice day out everyone was happy to hand steer. We pulled into Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon, still a little tired but pretty happy with how the whole trip had gone. We had been under a lot of pressure to get Wild Eyes to Fort Lauderdale in time to be loaded on the Marie Rickmers for shipment to Ensenada. If we had missed the ship, my trip would have to be postponed.

Zac left us that afternoon not too long after we got in. We all (my dad, Mike Smith and I) spent the night in a small hotel room that night, and I was luckily allowed to sleep on the boat for the rest of our stay there. We got a lot of much needed work done. We replaced the solar panels, fixed the strut, got every thing ready so that when she gets dropped off in Ensenada I can hop on and take her right up to Marina del Rey.

The whole trip was an experience, we had some great weather, we went through some hell, plenty of things broke down, and we had some fun; just what you want in a shake down trip. All in all it was a great trip. We put the boat through a lot, and all of us learned so much about handling her. I am more confident then ever that WIld Eyes and I are up to the challenge of sailing around the world. -- ~♥A♥~


  1. So great to hear from you at last! Well done, as always, by all hands on deck.

    -Hugh, Canada

  2. Thanks for the great post Abby. It is nice to hear your voice. You had quite the trip there but good experience, I guess. I know you will be excited to see Wild Eyes again in Ensenada (I have done lots of deep sea fishing out of there as a youngster.) Looking forward to seeing you and her again in the Pacific.
    Fair Winds,
    Kathy Bend, OR

  3. 11-22-09 @ 02:50
    Hi Abby,
    It's good to hear from you. Glad to hear that your trip was successful, as far as getting there in time to get "Wild Eyes" loaded. Sorry for your troubles, but it was a shakedown cruise, yes? Better to have all the little problems now and be able to get them straightened out. But I would imagine that you won't be encountering any lobster pots on your journey. Keep up the good work and stay confident. I've got faith in you and "Wild Eyes".
    May God be with you and watch over you and may the angels keep your sails full. I will keep you in my prayers.
    Michael (74) from Kingwood, WV

  4. " Ensenada I can hop on and take her right up to Marina del Rey."

    Abby, I'm no sailing expert, but this doesn't sound like a realistic description of a December voyage up the California coast. Let us know when you go to pick up Wild Eyes, so we can be praying you don't get TOO much experience.

  5. Well that was some shake down trip, and worth every minute of it. Wild Eyes appears to be strong in structure, it looks like a Farr40 to me. The work caried our has brought your trip back on line for a departure in early December. Will talk later.
    Hervey Bay. QLD. Au

  6. Before it even really begins, the Adventure has started!

    Keep us updated on when you're sailing in and doing the big departure - I'm sure there are plenty of local sailors like me that'll want to cheer for you!

  7. Great to finally get an update, Abby! Looking forward to reading about your trip up the California coast -- will you go it alone for practice? Also hoping to hear more about your departure and around-the-world trip plans... Take good care out there!
    Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

  8. What an exciting and memorable trip the three of had going down the east coast. Looking forward to hearing about your trip up the coast from Ensenada. How long will it be before the Wild Eyes arrives in Ensenada?

  9. Hi Abby - Wishing you a great, safe and successful trip around the globe, I am immensely heartened by the way you and Jessica are supporting each other, you are both very inspirational young women for Teen Spirit.

    Jim, Western Australia

  10. I still cannot understand why your parents are allowing you to do this trip all alone??? The danger factor is very high and you are so young. I just see this as all wrong...just my opinion.

  11. Hi Abby.
    Sorry to hear about your lobsterpot damage. Would like to say I told you so, but we have had our own problems. We saw that our shaft was kinda loose, we took the shaft out to replace the cutlassbearing and found it to be misaligned. And had to order a brand spnking new shaft, worth 1500$ plus labour.
    The guessed it, it was probably due to a lobsterpot.
    How is that for a coincidense, we shoud have kept a better lookout. On the other hand...lobstermen could mark their bouys properly. But that might be to much to ask!!
    Were still on the hard here, hoping to go to the carribean before Xmas.
    Best wishes from Trond and SY Maryam.

  12. Hi Abby,

    Thanks so much for the up-date on your trip for your solo around the world trip. I'm pleased that you all arrived back safely in Fort Lauderdale and that "Wild Eyes" has proven she can handle the rough weather.

    I know that there are many people out there who think that 16 year olds shouldn't be out there sailing around by themselves. I personally think that you have had a lot of experience out at sea and your trip around the world is not for the fainthearted. You know what you will be in for and you will have everything on board to be prepared for WHATEVER COMES YOUR WAY. You also have a brother who has many words of wisdom to share with you and I'm sure you will have a great team back home who will be in touch with you regularly.

    Stay focused on your goal Abby. You have a wonderful supportive family and friends and I know you will have lots of supporters around the world like me to encourage you along your travels.

    All the best Abby. Jan (Auckland, New Zealand)

  13. Sounds like SOOO much fun!!!
    Good going, Abby!
    Tray M.