Catching up with Joe Harris
Published on August 29th, 2021
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 what he has been up to this year:
It has been a while since my last correspondence. My apologies for the delay. As a result, there is much ground to cover! So going back to the late spring…
We launched GS2 at Maine Yacht Center in late April after a long winter of battling through a comprehensive refit of the boat during the Covid pandemic. Work was ‘on-again, off-again’ as people got sick and parts shipments were delayed etc., etc. It was tough, and while the boat went in the water in late April, we did not go sailing until the third week in May.
It was a busy time, as my son Griffin’s University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team was in the NCAA play-offs, which culminated with them winning the national championship over Memorial Day Weekend in Hartford, CT. Congrats to Grif and his Cavalier teammates for some amazing play down the home stretch with big wins over Georgetown, North Carolina and Maryland to take the title!
But back to sailing….. I had entered the Bermuda 1-2 which starts June 4th and knew I had to get some time at sea to get ready. Unfortunately, I was delayed again as when I tried to deliver the boat from Portland, Maine to Newport, RI, the wind instruments blew off the top of the mast in a 35k squall and I had to turn around. Its funny, I went all the way around the world in 2015/16 and the wind instruments made it the whole way with no problems.
Anyway, I finally made it down to Newport for the start of the B1-2, which went off in absolute pea-soup fog. I had a good start but encountered some foul current on the way to the Gulf Stream that set me back a bit. After the Gulf Stream, the last 150 miles to Bermuda were dead upwind in ‘light and variable’ winds- my least favorite conditions and GS2’s Achilles heel as well. So we placed second in class on that leg. After a very nice stay in Bermuda with my family, the Leg 2 DH start was June 17.
I was joined by co-skipper Dan Dytch and while I think we sailed well, our routing found foul current again, so we again took second in class. Congratulations to class winner Michael Hennessy aboard the Class 40 Dragon who sailed and routed his boat very well. The race was a disappointment to me and I have made some changes in my routing software and processes to hopefully address the shortcomings.
After a bit of rest, the next race was the Solo-Twin on July 30, also sponsored by the Newport YC, who organizes the B 1-2. This is just a 100 mile ocean triangle race out around Block Island, up to Martha’s Vineyard and back in to Newport. My DH partner for this race was Peter Becker and we sailed together well. We had an excellent duel with the Class 40 Privateer, with the lead changing hands many times, but they ‘pipped us at the post’ at a midnight finish. It was a fun an challenging race and pointed out the need for a new Code Zero sail, which is now being built.
So the prep for the Globe40 RTW race starting in June 2022 in Tangiers, Morocco continues. I have had the boat on Block Island and many of you have contacted me as you saw the boat on its mooring on the right hand side of the channel as you enter Great Salt Pond. I will continue sailing here until after Labor Day, when we will return to Portland, for some two-boat sailing with the Class 40 Amhas in mid-September.
I continue my search for talented co-skippers for the 8-leg, 9 month, Globe 40 and would appreciate any referrals from this knowledgeable crowd on the GS2 mailing list. If you know someone with deep offshore experience that might like to do a Globe40 leg with me aboard GS2, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thanks again to everyone for your ongoing support and inquiries and I pledge to get these newsletters out with better frequency after my summer hiatus!
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 2022 and make seven stops before finishing in Lisbon in March 2023. Joe is a member of the Cruising Club of America and chair of its Environment of the Sea Committee.