The first day and a half wasn't pleasant! We departed Newport after a thorough check of the weather. It was just after a big system had gone through that took around 5 days to pass. We left on the back day and a half and caught a great ride south to Bermuda.
The only issue was the subzero temperatures we experienced for the first two days. Day three wasn't too bad but it was still boots, beanies and ski goggles to avoid the pounding salt spray.
During the first days we had heaps of breeze and seas that slowly built until we got to the gulf stream where they came from all directions, it got short and steep and broke on a few occasions. Spirit always felt in control tough. We were heavily reefed with the third reef of our four being used.
During some squalls we saw about 40kts but never any more. It was great surfing the waves during daylight but at night it's not too much fun hurtling down black holes at over 20kts and not being able to see what's in front.
We had snow, flooded the boat with a broken seacock, waves crashing into the cockpit. Chinese torture in the way of condensation dripping from the deckheads while you try and shut your eyes for the three hours you have off. I think I slept about 4 hours in the three days it took to get to Bermuda.
With the boat speeding into the dark and the sound of water crashing all around its hard to relax, rest and sleep as your always wondering if this wave will be twice the size of the other ones, whether this gust will be the big one and how intense the approaching squall is. The boat then comes to a slowdown as she surfs and falls back into the trough and your confidence builds in her slowly the more this happens
As this was our first time at sea in Spirit we took it easy with the main only up at night but as she weighs roughly 3 tons her ability to take off down short seas is second to none.
This part of the delivery was hard it was very cold and we had nothing under 25-30kts for those first two days only on the 3rd did it ease and then the last four hours was on the beam at 20kts apparent making for a blindingly fast 14-16kt entry into Bermuda.
Once there it was off to the yacht club for showers and laundry man did the interior smell after this first few days!!!
Our max SOG (speed over ground) during the first leg was 24kts not bad for a fifteen year old trimaran.
A lot of people question leaving when there is strong winds forecast. All I can say is that we always add ten knots to the forecast. If I'm happy we can handle that I feel it'll be ok. Having a sea anchor and drogue onboard gives us peace of mind as well as we can always deploy them if we need rest, make repairs or to wait out bad weather.
We always carry the amount of sail down wind as we would up wind and always try and depart with following winds. When your doing 10-15kts that 20-30kt wind is reduced to 10-15kts making it a very enjoyable sail. I would rather leave with a stronger following wind than anything forward of the beam no matter how light as forecast wind strength is often wrong by 10kts making that light headwind not so light once your apparent is taken into consideration and it becomes an uncomfortable wet ride.