Got back home yesterday.
The way back was mostly upwind from Newport. It is so cool to feel the boat heeled over 20-25 degrees and get into that groove, just humming along home. You can feel the power of the sails, and of the boat turning 15 knots wind into 6.5 knots boat speed. I sat on the low side most of the day, trying to nap as much as possible in preparation for the overnight 24 hour passage we had planned to get home. Simple tasks like going below to grab a jacket or make a sandwich became insanely difficult as a gust would now and then get the rail under, and now I know why posters here recommend so many handholds. as night approached, the crew didn't want to sleep so I took the first off watch. I slept till about 1 am, when the crew woke me up and wanted to sleep. I drove for the next 3 hours solo, taking the helm from the autopilot and hand steering to keep alert. Interesting experience, as the seas built to 2-3 footers and we slammed along upwind at full speed and I had some navigational tasks to attend to throughout the night, routing the bot around various shoals and lighthouses. For a while i was seeing shadows on the horizon that i thought were land, and i thought i was on a collision course. After checking and rechecking charts and gps, i realized I was just seeing things and soon enough I saw no more shadows. At 4 am I was relieved, but I kind of wanted to keep steering solo. Something about being by myself under the stars, steering by compass as the boat heaved through the swells, felt awesome. We did 115 miles in that 24 hour period, not bad I think.
I now know for sure that some serious offshore voyages will be in my future. Just sailing the boat, feeling the motions, working towards a goal, forgetting all else worldly and mundane to life, and the up close interaction with nature and its elements, makes u feel alive. Pushing the boat, keeping it moving fast, watching the froth pass by the hull while just ticking away the miles, is its own reward. And getting to the destination and having that harbor beer is the icing on the cake