Joe Harris: Day 59

Published on January 24th, 2016

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. That plan, however, got derailed when a stop in Cape Town was needed for repairs to his energy systems. Here’s an update from Joe on January 18…

It has been quite exciting out here at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and/or the top of the Southern Ocean, where the westerly winds and cold fronts just keep rolling through. Last night it blew between 30 and 40k all night, and luckily I had not much sail up (3 reefs and the staysail), so the boat rode through it Ok, although the big seas throw the boat around a lot. I heard from Commanders Weather yesterday that Tropical Cyclone Corentin is brewing to the north of me off Madagascar, packing winds of 80 to 100 mph, so was advised to head East and South as fast as my little legs would carry me.

Yes Sir. I think I have been averaging well over 9 knots over the last 3-4 days and it feels like I am in a rhythm with the weather systems and the boat. Lots of sail changes, but I like the work-out and it helps tire me out- which is good- as too much sitting around produces anxiety.

In other breaking news aboard GS2, I finished Neil Young’s autobiography, “Waging Heavy Peace” and thought it was, in the words of Richard Sherman, highly mediocre. Though I love his music, this rambling, disorganized tale bounced around aimlessly in time, and literally seemed like he wrote it or dictated it in random spare moments as he drove or flew or whatever. Anyway, it’s always great to hear how crazy a musician’s life is, as it makes the rest of us look tame by comparison with our minor addictions and bad habits. These guys went big and many of them died young. A fun read for me, but not one I would recommend unless you are a huge Neil Young fan.

I made some fresh water from salt water today, I know, it’s a miracle, and ran the engine for the first time in a week or more just to keep away the gremlins. The hydro-solar combo has met all our energy needs, but there will come a calm day with no sun when the diesel beast will be needed so need to keep her tuned up. All good.

I woke up this morning after a good sleep despite the raging winds and had my morning coffee and went on deck all fired up to put more sail up and put The Doors on my iPhone and launched into yet another crazed bout of howling and tears and air guitar maelstrom. WTF I ask you. I can’t seem to play any music now without sobbing, I feel like frickin’ John Boehner.

In college, my Brown lacrosse teammates and I were way into The Doors, and we played them incessantly to get psyched for games and to party. L.A. Woman was our theme song, and it still sends a shiver down my spine. So a shout-out to the multi-generations of Brown State Lacrosse Nation- and Coach Lars Tiffany- my heart is with you as the spring season approaches.

I have also been futzing endlessly with time/speed/distance to the finish calculations and have the following estimates to report:

Estimated total voyage time at sea: 134 days, assuming no further stops or major problems (shhh that would “unofficially” break the record, but were not gonna talk about that right now, Ok?)

So halfway would be 67 days: Feb 1- A national holiday will be declared in the Kerguelen Islands
Around the bottom of New Zealand: Around Feb. 12
Around Cape Horn: Around March 3
Back to Newport: Around April 4 – 8

Looks so simple and easy sitting there on a piece of paper doesn’t it? I hope by putting this out there I am not inviting any bad luck- I am more hoping that everyone will again climb on board the Kharma Bus for a sustained ride to the finish line! And a large Par-Tay! So send the positive vibrations, they will make it down here.

Go Pats!

Background: As a result of Joe’s 11-day detour to Cape Town (Dec 28-Jan 8), While Joe will no longer be able to officially break the existing non-stop record of 137 days, 20 hours, 01 minute, 57 seconds – set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan in 2013 – he will continue to unofficially better the mark. Website:

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