Joe Harris: That Sinking Feeling
Published on March 20th, 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 pitstop in Cape Town was needed for repairs to his energy systems. But Joe has carried on – here he provides an update on March 20 (Day 115)…
I discovered some water coming in to the boat from the starboard bow area yesterday. I had seen this starting after the big Northerly gale of two nights ago, but the amount of water was small and I thought it might have come through the deck hatch. But after sponging it up a few times and it coming back, I decided to pull all the gear out of the area and have a look.
I discovered a 2ft x 3ft area of delamination – that is where the inner fiberglass skin separates from the core material and the outer fiberglass skin in the hull sandwich, and the area loses its structural integrity and becomes mushy. I don’t know whether I hit an object or just came down off a wave and crashed super hard – lord knows there was enough of those. In any event, there is flexing in the hull skin and water seeping in so the damage is significant enough that it needs to be addressed and cannot be repaired at sea.
So, while this sucks to have to pull off the road, as I am anxious to get home, there is no question that the boat would not make it to Newport with this damage… so time to head for shore.
Punta del Este, Uruguay has been a stopover port for both the Around Alone and Global Ocean Races, and GS2 friends have friends so hopefully things can get done quickly and smoothly.
I am approximately 300 miles from Punta and am monitoring the hull flexing and water ingress closely as I point the bow in that direction but would hope to be safely in port in a couple of days.
Background: As a result of Joe’s 11-day detour to Cape Town (Dec 28-Jan 8), Joe is no longer 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. However, he remains hopeful to unofficially better the mark. Website: www.gryphonsolo2.com