We got out of Newport, Rhode Island last Sunday, two days later than we had been hoping to leave. Our trip started out nicely with a good bit of wind coming from the north and we were racing along with our full sail up going at about 8 to 9 knots. It didn't stay like that for long though, by the next night we had 25 knots of wind and 15 foot breaking seas. It was amazing! And Wild Eyes handled it all great.
I've come to realize a bit better how much work Wild Eyes will be; she's a great boat, and designed for single-handing, but she is a race boat. It takes more than twice as much work to do anything on her than on any other cruising boat - but its worth some extra work. That rough night on Wild Eyes wasn't at all bad - it was actually kind of fun. We were making great time going at around 15 knots and once getting up to 24kts surfing down a wave. We were down to the third reef in the main and healed right over, though it was nothing compared to what I will get into. I will get a lot of weather like that in the Southern Ocean and it was good to be able to see how the boat handles in that sort of thing.
Our auto pilot has done great. When we first left Newport we couldn't get it working so we ended up hooking up the secondary auto pilot and its a miracle she's still working. The boat slides all over the place when surfing down waves and even with all of that extra work she's managed to keep us on track so far. She is very loud, but after the initial fear of having to hand steer for the whole trip we agreed not to complain, lest she feel she wasn't appreciated and break down.
Sailing with Zac has been an experience... and I'm still trying to decide whether or not its a good one! He's taken advantage of there being no mirrors on the boat and I very rarely wake up without some drawing on my my face. He also has taken great joy in little things, like my mortification at watching him wash a cup with salt water and a dirty sock. But despite how annoying he is, its really good to have him with us out here.
I could write a whole lot more about this trip, but I have to get going, we have a few things to finish up before we pull out.