Joe Harris: Riding the Kharma Bus
Published on April 1st, 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 with a detour to Cape Town to repair his energy systems and another pit stop in Uruguay due to hull damage. Joe provides an update on April 1 (Day 118 at sea)…
Lots of emotions flowing as GS2 headed out of the marina in Piriapolis, Uruguay yesterday on a beautiful sunny morning.
We had worked into the night on Wednesday (Mar 30) getting the boat prepared and buying and storing food and supplies, after clearing through the departure paperwork. As he had done when I arrived, Aldo Fedele helped me with the marina bill, Immigration and the Prefectura (Navy/Coast Guard), then drove me to the supermarket for food and the gas station for diesel and helped us load it all on to the boat.
Aldo had been a shining example of Kharma – being an incredible friend to someone he had never met before but was a fellow sailor. In Aldo’s mind, he was just helping out a mate as any sailor would do for another sailor. But let’s face it folks, that just doesn’t happen very often in the real world. So to Aldo, all I can say is “thank-you” from the bottom of my heart as I would have been lost without you – not speaking Spanish and lost in the maze of paperwork. Please come visit the USA and I will reciprocate your generous friendship with GS2/Kharma Bus nation.
The other person who went way above the call of duty is Rob Windsor. Rob answered my first call from offshore when I found the delamination in the hull and basically worked tirelessly from that moment on to get GS2 and her skipper sailing again. Rob flew to Uruguay carrying a new jib and auto pilot ram in his bag and showed up with a smile on his face to pick up the spiritually wounded GS2 skipper and provide him a mate to get good and drunk with, a large shoulder to cry on (literally – I was a PTSD chocolate mess), and the most skilled preparateur imaginable to put the boat back together.
Rob and I worked with our Argentine boat builder friends (who he had miraculously found – a true needle in the haystack) for three days and then put the boat back in Bristol condition in another four days which is really like an Indy-style pit-stop. Total time in port was 10 days – and we worked through the Easter holiday – which is huge down here. Pretty darn good given my shaky start with local officials.
So when it came time to cast off the lines yesterday morning at 0730, there was a considerable lump in my throat and the realization that this world is a pretty good place when you can find friends like Aldo Fedele and Rob Windsor. I gave each a handshake and a hug and did my best John Boehner imitation and puttered out the channel to complete the final chapter of this saga.
I have been greeted by beautiful autumn sunshine, but the prevailing wind is clearly from the Northeast – which is directly where I want to go – so I am looking at two weeks of upwind sailing and a fair amount of shipping traffic and oil rigs along the South American coast.
So it is time to put my head down and sail hard and sail well and avoid the obstacles and sail 2,000 miles to The Bulge! GS2 seems ready for the task and good kharma is flowing… so with the help and support of all of you back home… we can do it.
With tremendous gratitude and new resolve…
Background: As a result of Joe’s 11-day detour to Cape Town (Dec 28-Jan 8), and his 10-day pit stop in Uruguay (Mar 22-31), 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 committed to completing the journey. Website: www.gryphonsolo2.com