Stay Thirsty My Friends

Published on December 2nd, 2015

Aboard his Class40 GryphonSolo2, American Joe Harris departed Newport (RI) on November 15 in a bid to break the 40 Foot Monohull Solo Non-Stop Round the World Record. Here’s an update from Joe on December 1 as he heads south in the Atlantic Ocean…

I’m coming to you live from the “Bulge of Brazil”- getting very close to the Equator! With a 10 knot average, my arrival should come in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Crewed boats typically make a party of the Equator Crossing, with someone dressing up as King Neptune and crew members making offerings to placate the gods. I’m thinking of a Jameson and coffee with a fine cigar, and looking forward to the moment when the GPS shows 0.00 degrees for latitude.

So life at sea here in the tropics goes on- 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. It is very warm and very windy- usually blowing about 20 knots- and the sea conditions are rough- so the boat gets very wet. It is almost comical, every time I go on deck, I am greeted by a large wall of water in the face. I feel like the clown in the circus when they do that comedy routine and some unsuspecting clown gets splattered with a bucket of water- that would be me. Usually I have just put on a clean shirt and shorts and I naively go on deck just for a little fresh air- and Wham- I get nailed with a wave in the face and get completely soaked.

So now I have shorts and t-shirts hanging everywhere in the cabin, which really don’t dry in these rain-forest like conditions- and I find foul-weather gear just way too hot in this climate- so mostly I am naked (and afraid?) and nobody seems to mind. I am just covered in salt water and am really trying to avoid salt water sores, particularly on my butt, which is a common affliction for sailors. So, I will leave it there- looking for the next downpour of rain so I can run on deck and have a fresh water shower!

The boat is holding up well- I have had two reefs in the main and the Solent jib up for quite a while and the boat likes the combo of power from the jib without too much weather helm from the main. The auto-pilot steers 99% of the time and the hydro-generator puts out between 12 and 20 amps of power which is enough to run the AP’s and electronics and keep the batteries topped up at over 13 volts.

So I have not really had to focus on energy conservation much at all- and can use the computer and sat comms fairly freely- which is nice. If we slow down, this may change, and I am hoping the solar panels will then kick in, but they have not been major energy contributor so far. I have only run the diesel engine once so far, just to make sure it still worked.

So that’s my pre-Equator story…stay thirsty my friends.

Background: The existing record of 137 days, 20 hours, 01 minute, 57 seconds was set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan in 2013. Finishing in Newport, Joe will need to average 195 miles per day, or approximately 8.2 knots, to beat the record. Website: www.gryphonsolo2.com

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