Joe Harris: Road to the Globe40

Published on December 10th, 2020

Joe Harris sailed solo around the world in 2015-2016 and is continuing to prepare his Class40 GryphonSolo2 for the 2021-22 Globe40, a doublehanded race around the world in Class 40s. In this report, Joe details the winter work that is underway:


GryphonSolo2 had her mast removed and came out of the water in early October at Maine Yacht Center in Portland. She had her keel and rudders removed, was rolled into the paint shop and then blocked about four feet off the ground. The plan was to have the non-skid deck paint re-done and to sand and repaint the bottom.

However, as the boat is coming up on 10 years old and has been around the world once, we did a complete inspection, sounding, and survey of the hull and deck. Our inspection uncovered several areas of delamination where the core material (balsa or foam) had separated from the inner and/or outer skin of fiberglass.

When this separation occurs, the structural integrity of the hull or deck is compromised and must be fixed, or the problem will only get worse. The composites team at MYC is top-notch, and they have seen and repaired this type of delamination problem in race boats many times before, so they set to work and moved quickly through the stages of the repairs.

On the deck, we removed all hardware (winches, jammers, padeyes, etc.), sanded the deck back to the primer and repaired all damaged areas. All non-skid areas were taped off and the painting began with two coats of primer, sanding in-between, then three coats of non-skid.

The foredeck area was painted in “International Orange” with the hull number 106 so that if the boat were in distress, it could be seen and identified by a plane or helicopter.

The finished product looks like a new boat with the sticky non-skid deck surface to provide secure footing.

Below the waterline, we found a significant area of delamination on the starboard side forward, which was quite large and troubling (see photo below). The damaged area had to be repaired by first removing the outer layer of glass and removing the balsa core, which was replaced with new balsa core, glued in with epoxy. Next was applying multiple layers of fiberglass, vacuum-bagged, in faired layers back into the hull.


In case you missed it, click here for the first article in this series. For more detail and photos, visit the GS2 website. The Globe40 Race is scheduled to start in Tangier, Morocco, in June 2021 and make seven stops before finishing in Lisbon in March 2022. Joe is a member of the Cruising Club of America and chair of its Environment of the Sea Committee.

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