The boat can handle just about anything with the right sail plan. With three reefs in the main and the ORC #4 jib, we can handle up to 45 knots. The last move would be the fourth reef and storm jib, which would handle 50 knots and above. In the light stuff- we can match wind speed with the Code Zero on a beam reach- so this boat, equipped with great sails, really is the weapon of choice for this mission.
The water maker would not make water at the higher boat speeds as it could not get adequate suction to bring in salt water to convert to fresh. I was beginning to worry about this as I do not have near enough water onboard to make it around- but working on the advice of Josh Hall and Brian Harris, I ran a hose from the water maker to the leeward water ballast tank and allowed the unit to pull salt water from there and it ran beautifully and made about 4 gallons in four hours- setting my mind at ease.
The onboard environment: food has been good with breakfast of coffee and granola and blueberries or cinnamon apples, lunch of tuna, chicken or salmon with mayo on a wrap or mixed in with ramen noodles- dinners Mountain House freeze dried- Beef stroganoff, sweet and sour pork, chicken a la king- chocolate and cookie as needed- not bad at all. I have been able to get a decent amount of sleep each 24 hour period despite the rough weather- mostly sleeping in full FW gear on sail bags so I can get up if I need to. As it gets warmer now I will look forward to the bunk.
Weather and navigation have been a nice team effort with Commanders Weather who selected a great window for my fast departure and has allowed me to get about halfway to my Leg One Waypoint at 15 North / 35 West. The Leg is about 2,684 miles long and I have covered about 1,340 on the Great Circle route from Newport (although I sailed more miles than that on my actual path) and have about the same distance to go this coming week. Commanders predicted 15 days duration for this opening leg- I'm hoping I can beat that- and be there before November 30th.