Ronstan

Joe Harris seeking to break round the world record

Published on June 9th, 2015

Newport, RI (June 9, 2015) – Long time U.S. short-handed sailor, Joe Harris, announced his plans today to attempt to break the non-stop solo Around the World Record for 40-foot monohulls.

Harris will make the attempt in his Class 40, GryphonSolo2, in accordance with the rules of the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC), who will time the start and finish in Newport, RI. Additionally, a ‘WSSRC Black Box’ will be installed on the boat to record data from his attempt to break the existing record of 137 days, 20 hours, 01 minute, 57 seconds set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan in 2013.

Aboard his Class 40 yacht, 48-year-old Guo departed his hometown of Qingdao, China on November 18, 2012 and returned on April 5, 2013.

To sail around the World, the WSSRC rules state:
• A vessel must start from and return to the same point, must cross all meridians of longitude and must cross the Equator. It may cross some but not all meridians more than once (i.e. two roundings of Antarctica do not count). The shortest orthodromic track of the vessel must be at least 21,600 nautical miles in length calculated based on a ‘perfect sphere’. In calculating this distance, it is to be assumed that the vessel will sail around Antarctica in latitude 63 degrees south.
• A vessel starting from any point where the direct orthodromic distance is too short shall pass one single island or other fixed point on a required side so as to lengthen his orthodromic track to the minimum distance.
• No starting point will be permitted more south than 45 ° south.
• 1 degree of longitude at 63 degrees south will be taken as 27.24NM

Joe intends to leave Newport on a favorable weather window at the beginning of November. To qualify for an Around the World record, Joe will sail from Castle Hill Light in Newport, returning to Newport, leaving Antarctica to starboard. The attempt is an approximate distance of 26,700 nautical miles. To beat the current record, Joe will need to average 195 miles per day, or roughly 8.2 knots/hour.

“I have been hoping, planning and dreaming of racing around the world since I was about 20 and now I am 55,” Joe Harris stated. “I have come dangerously close to doing this twice; first with my Open 50 GryphonSolo in 2008 in the Velux 5 Oceans Race, before it was postponed. I then bought my Class 40 GryphonSolo2 in 2011 with the express purpose of racing solo around the world, but alas, there is no longer a race, as the Global Ocean Race will not run again. So, being ‘all dressed up with nowhere to go’, I have decided to ‘just do it’ and in turn attempt to break the speed record for a 40-foot monohull.

“There is no other sporting event in the world that runs for 137 days, 24 hours day, in which you are the only athlete on the playing field racing against the clock,” Harris continued. “So this will no doubt be the greatest challenge I have ever faced and I would be lying if I said that the prospect of being alone on the great oceans of the world for four months is not an intimidating thought. It is. But in the end, this will provide me the greatest test that I can imagine. So I look forward to engaging with anyone who would like to follow the record attempt, from the preparation, to the start, to the communication from sea, to my return to Newport in, hopefully, anything less than 137 days.”

Throughout the next five months, Joe will be actively training for his around the world record attempt. In addition to multi-day training sails, Joe will also participate in Block Island Race Week (double-handed Navigators Division), Marblehead-Halifax (double-handed) and the Ida Lewis Distance Race.

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About Joe Harris
Joe grew up sailing on Long Island Sound, being mentored by his father, Woody Harris and his grandfather Hans Rozendaal, both experienced offshore racing sailors. With 4 trans-Atlantic crossings, 9 Newport-Bermuda races, 5 Marblehead to Halifax races, 5 Bermuda 1-2 races, 3 Atlantic Cups and numerous international miles sailed, Joe has logged over 60,000 offshore ocean miles, while owning 5 boats over a span of 30 years.

After graduating from Brown University in 1981, Joe spent the next seven years as a boat builder in New England during the winters and commercial fisherman in the summers in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Joe sailed offshore frequently in his twenties, racing to Bermuda and delivering boats to and from Europe and the Caribbean, before buying a C&C 40 he named Shiva. Joe migrated to double-handed sailing aboard Shiva, and ultimately sold Shiva to purchase the Aerodyne 38 Gryphon, which he campaigned aggressively.

In 2004 Joe purchased an all-carbon Finot-Conq designed Open 50 that he named GryphonSolo, which he campaigned in the solo Transat and the Transat Jacques Vabre. In 2011, Joe purchased an Akilaria RC 2 Class 40 named GryphonSolo2 with the intent of racing solo around the world.

Joe is married to his wife Kimberly and they have three children (Griffin- 17, Emmett- 11 and Sophie Grace-8) and live in South Hamilton, MA. He is involved in real estate investment, development and project management when not sailing.

Career Highlights:
1st – 2014 Atlantic Cup
4th – 2013 Atlantic Cup
3rd – 2012 Atlantic Cup
1st – 2007 Bermuda 1-2 – Overall and set the course record
1st – 2006 Newport-Bermuda – Open Division
1st – 2005 Transat Jaques Vabre (France-Brazil) – Double-handed
2nd – 2004 Transat (Plymouth, UK- Boston, MA) – Single-handed

About GryphonSolo2
GryphonSolo2 is an Akilaria RC2 Class 40. The Akilaria RC2 is the second generation of Class 40s designed by Marc Lombard and built by MC-Tec. She was launched in 2011 in LaTrinite, France.

For More Information: www.gryphonsolo2.com

Source: Julianna Barbieri, Manuka Sports Event Management

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