Joe Harris: Delightful Trade Wind Days

Published on April 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 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 24 (day 141)…

It has been truly lovely sailing this past week here in the trade wind belt, with consistent easterly winds on the beam allowing for fast but comfortable sailing northbound in the Atlantic. The weather has been spectacular – if very hot – with sunny days and moonlit nights.

I am sailing fast under full mainsail and spinnaker… at about the same latitude as the British Virgin Islands, although they are about 640 miles to the west.

I will soon be sailing out of the trade winds, so the winds will not be nearly so predictable or reliable, and there is a cold front approaching with squalls and thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow night.

GS2 is now about 1,080 from a waypoint just west of Bermuda and approx. 1,660 miles from Newport, but there will be a few more weather systems to traverse before the finish line and I’m sure a few extra miles sailed. There is high pressure to the east of Bermuda, so we will be routing to the west, and hoping that the typical SSW winds kick in for the last 650 miles from Bermuda to Newport.

Just doing the math, it would appear I might be in to Newport somewhere between Wednesday May 4 and Friday May 6, but who knows what surprises mother nature could throw my way before the finish line. Hope to see many of you there.

While I am very ready to be home and reunited with my family, I am trying my best to enjoy these final days of this epic voyage. I am not sure what “re-entry” will be like given my extended solitude, but I expect it will be just fine.

But I must stay focused and vigilant to the very end, so I am constantly reminding myself to do all the usual maintenance checks, to watch for squalls and shipping traffic, and to have the right sail combination up for the given conditions, particularly at night.

I am getting down to the bottom of the barrel in terms of food, as well as books and movies. Numerous “Beef Stew” dehydrated meals stare back at me from the supply bag, and while I will not go hungry, the variety will leave something to be desired. Watching movies and reading books a second time is not as bad as I thought… as my memory must not be as good as I thought!

So I’m just trying to stay “even keel” and relax and know that the finish is near and not get all anxious. Just “chill” as they say… relaxed but focused… be the ball.

Hope you all are chillin’ as well and enjoyed a sweet April Sunday.

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

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