Preparing For The Turn

Published on December 15th, 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 15, who is now deep in the South Atlantic, having headed mostly south since the equator, and is now waiting for the front that will launch him east toward South Africa and the Indian Ocean…

Yesterday I completed Leg 2 of the 10 leg Round-the-world circumnavigation plan put together with Commanders weather. The waypoint we just passed was at 30′ South by 30′ West and the Leg distance was approximately 2,500 nautical miles. We will continue in a Southeast direction, slowly getting into the trademark westerly winds of the ‘Roaring Forties” latitudes.

I believe I am becoming “The Incredible Shrinking Man.” I can almost see my leg muscles – quads and calves – shrinking as I must not be using them the way I normally do! My upper body and waist have also shrunk, but not quite so dramatically. So in response, I have initiated a 3X daily exercise program that involves, toe raises (calves), lunges (quads), squats (quads), push-ups (upper body) and sit-ups (core) to stop the muscle atrophy. I am really surprised at how quickly this is happening and I do not feel any weaker, but I think I’d better address the issue before it becomes a bigger deal.

A tragedy has occurred to my favorite Baby Belle cheeses – the ones in the wax wrapper. They have all succumbed to the heat and have gone bad. Mournful sigh! However, on the brighter side, this morning I discovered a large cache of pop tarts, which were at risk of getting crushed and destroyed up in the bow sail locker, so I have retrieved those and have commenced a one week “Pop Tart Festival”. If you are going to have a muffin or a doughnut, you might as well have a Pop-Tart – they aren’t bad!

I took the mainsail down today for inspection prior to a forecast of 20-40 knot winds, discovering that two of the pins that hold the batten cars to the mast cars had worked their way loose and were about to pop out completely. I think the small cotter pins holding the vertical pins had sheared off, so I replaced them with larger, stronger pins that I’m pretty sure will do the job. I am very glad I got to that before the storm or I may have had a significant problem with the mainsail in the heavy weather.

That’s it for now from just west of the Tristan Da Cunha Islands in the South Atlantic.

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:


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