So here we are floating around out here and it's bliss. This is the world we live in and too many people unfortunately don't get to experience it like this.
This morning we woke to our watch at 6 am and about an hour later we were joined by a great pod of dolphins with smaller ones zipping around the three bows and jumping beside us while we motored along in the calm.
We had left Bermuda the day before after another big system had started to pass. Even though it was still forecast to be around 30-40kts offshore we thought this better than the 30-35kts we'd get on the way down if we waited too long.
We left Bermuda with a deeply reefed main, four reefs and headsail up. Spirit handled the first night in the large seas and squalls really well. That night we had the most wind we'd seen with 48kts true wind off the quarter and waves that were large but never felt as though they were dangerous.
The next day this changed with the wind increasing to a solid 35kts continuous and gusting to 40kts. It was a cold dense and solid breeze though and it felt like the seas were growing again that next morning as the tops started to break and the foam pushed us around. At a guess we would have had a solid 15-20 ft swell. Surfing down them was great and as the last leg was a good opener for the boat this leg gave us more confidence to surf the waves and make good time.
Even though our heading was about 20 degrees lower than we'd hoped this was ok as the easterly we were making would come in handy when we got further south and the wind tendered south east.
Later yesterday afternoon the wind tendered north and became light. This was with relief as the seas were starting to get very rough and break. We saw some good sets come through and as always Spirit surfed them straight and fast never feeling uneasy with the speed or the way they pushed us around.
Today we woke to an amazing sunrise and dolphins all around. It has blown no harder than 10kts all day and we have had time to eat well, dry all the interior out along with bedding and clothing that had started to smell a little after being so damp.
We raised all the light air sails today. Drying them out and have a good look over them at the same time. Spirit came with an amazing amount of sails. Her main is gorgeous and made by North over 10 years ago and all her light air reachers and gennakers are done by Doyle.
We're now reaching along with the wind at 6-10kts apparent and the boat speed is hovering at around 6-10kts with it being just above wind speed most of the time. The full mainsail is up and so is the big Doyle reacher that just seems to trim perfectly to the wind at 60-90 degrees. This sail has so much pull it's a hot sail and one that'll be used often in the tropics.
I'm just looking at the moon shimmering on the water and the millions of stars that are out. Its times like these that you appreciate the simplicity of the world and have time to think about why we tend to make things so complicated. Life's simple we just seem to make everything complex and hard, while forgetting about how perfect it already is.
I hope everyone finds times like these more often than not a this to me is what living is all about. Happy sailing!!!
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.
After seeing and sailing Spirit my mind was pretty much made up. I had fallen in love with Spirit the first moment I saw her and had decided then and there that unless there were some serious defects I would buy her and sail her home to Australia. The plan was to then fix her up a bit in Australia and then to sail her to Thailand where I would start a daysailing business doing trips around the Islands.
Spirit did have some small issues though and there was some work to be done beforehand. We decided to haul Spirit out of the water at the Newport Shipyard in Rhode Island. There we would cut back the old plywood float or AMA decks and then replace them with new carbon decks. We would also replace all the damaged frames and bulkheads, we'd rewire the interior, paint the interior, replace rigging, replace the foredeck as it was also rotten and service the main engine all this along with many other small jobs.
By the time we got Spirit hauled out of the water it was the start of October and in this neck of the woods it gets very cold very quickly. Without hast I found a local shipwright whom was experienced with carbon and we went about removing the old decks and making new ones. My nephew Brayden arrived from Australia to have a life experience and to help out.
The work went on for nearly two months and it wasn't until the middle of December that we were ready to head south. As with most jobs we ended up doing far more than first thought and with the weather conditions we had it was inevitable that we would end up having to build a tent over Spirit so as we could heat the area and do the work in a controlled environment properly.
After two months of cold water, sanding and grinding, painting, re-wiring and the likes we were so excited to head off and to get to warmer climates. I don't think any amount of cold bad weather would have stopped us from departing as we were so keen to make a move and see our new girl gliding over the oceans surface!
It really began in 2009 after a few years of dreaming as I searched the net or magazines for that perfect trimaran. I wasn't totally certain I'd buy a trimaran but for some reason I loved them and the way they moved upon the water. The simplicity and the efficiency of the designs always intrigued me as a kid growing up.
Spirit had been for sale for some years and I'd been watching her price slowly come down. The Australian dollar was also strong and made boats that were for sale in the US a lot more affordable.
After a few emails back and forth to her broker Bill Bullimore in the UK it was decided to pursue her a little more.
Spirit was laying in Stonington, Connecticut in-between New York and Boston on the upper US East Coast. I was lucky enough to have a couple of great friends that were based in Newport RI just to the north of Stonington that were able to view her and give us the thumbs up. This gave me some idea to the kind of condition she was in before I flew over to the US. from where we were living in Thailand..
I ended up flying into Boston to view Spirit for the first time in September 2010. At the time Spirit was owned by Bill Foster. Bill had owned her since the early 2000's and had sailed her around the Long Island area with his family. As she was such a small boat and with his family growing he thought it was best to let her go. Bill hoped that someone else would come along that loved her as much as he did and would get good use out of her.
On seeing Spirit for the first time I fell in love. Small, sleek and with a beautiful retro look from the 80's of the reverse sheer or camber in her deck. Huge carbon wing mast and loads of potential to be a comfortable and fast cruiser. It took a short sail and a few hours combing her interior and exterior before I decided to buy her. There was a fair amount of work to be done though before setting to sea so we hauled her out of the water at the Newport Shipyard and proceeded to complete the necessary work to make her sea worthy and ready for the trip back across the Pacific.