Joe Harris: On the Eastbound Train

Published on December 20th, 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 20…

Things are good out here in the South Atlantic. The wind is honking from behind us and we are going fast, so that is always a positive, although it is cold and grey and rainy.

We are approaching the three-island group called Tristan Da Cunha, which was named by a Portuguese explorer of the same name who sighted the island in 1506. This is a British property that is part of a government agreement with Asension and St. Helena islands to the north. The population of 300 hardy souls are farmers and fisherman. I think we will split between the three islands tonight around midnight, so I won’t get to see much, although I believe the island has a 10,000 foot peak. I will have to watch out for the wind shadow on the lee side.

More GS2 breaking news:

• The boat is in pretty good shape – nothing broken or malfunctioning at the moment, just trying to address some small leaks that become a problem when we experience big breaking seas or torrential rains.
• The forecast for the next four days is for winds between 20 and 40 knots – mostly from the West – so we should be able to make some good time.
• Update on my German competitor Henrik Masekowit, who is concurrently trying to break the 40-foot record. Evidently, he took a bad fall and injured his ankle and is heading to Cape Town to seek medical treatment. I don’t have a lot of details, but Henrik stated in a blog post that this will end his solo, RTW record attempt, which is a shame. Henrik was quite a ways in front of me, having sailed a ver different course coming south from Europe instead of North Americas as I did. It was going to be a real challenge to try to catch him in the Southern Ocean and I was really looking forward to that. I send my best wishes to Henrik and his family – I know he must be gutted – but we are brothers in arms and he will live to fight another day.

Conclusion: You have to finish to win, and to finish you need to keep the boat and yourself together. I will be tested by these high winds and seas these next four days, but plan to do everything I can to protect the boat, as the pounding we took in the last gale was not fun, nor good for the boat.

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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