Globe40 leader diverts to Cape Town

Published on August 8th, 2022

American Joe Harris is competing in the Globe40, a multi-leg doublehanded round the world race in Class40s. The second leg started July 17, taking the five-boat fleet from Cape Verde Islands to Mauritius. Harris expects the 7000nm course will take 35 days to complete… here’s his update from August 7, 2022:

Big news here on GryphonSolo2 from the high seas is that we passed the halfway point on this epic Leg 2 of the Globe40 a few days ago, which means we have sailed more than 4,000 miles from the Cape Verde Islands over the last three weeks, through the Doldrums, past the equator and into the SE trade winds.

However, we still have to get around the Cape of Good Hope, which is our next major routing challenge. Because of the Agulhas Current running East to West (against us), we either have to go close to shore or well south, so we are considering those options now. A few other bits of action:
• Fleet leader Milai has informed race management and the fleet this morning that they need to divert to Cape Town to fix a problem with their keel. That is a huge bummer for Masa Suzuki and Andrea Fantini who were sailing an incredible leg.

(Editor’s note: The race director reported that on August 6 at 21:23 UTC, the MILAI Around The World team noted how unusual noises in its keel box has them diverting to Cape Town at 550 miles for a check; the maritime authorities have been pre-alert by the race director of the situation.)

I am reminded of my emergency stop in Cape Town around Christmas 2015 during my previous round the world sail. The people of Cape Town could not have been more friendly and helpful, so I hope Masa experiences the same. We all wish them a speedy repair and hope they can catch up with the fleet in Mauritius prior to the start of Leg 3.

• We broke a batten box on the second batten down from the top of the mainsail and it caused the batten to stick out across to the other side of the mast, effectively preventing the sail from being lowered. We thought one of us was going to have to go up the mast to pull the batten out so that we could lower the sail, but after a long battle, we were able to the sail down to repair the broken box. Dodged a bullet there.

• I had a chest cold for about a week that seemed to be getting worse, with congestion and a hacking cough that interrupted sleep. I texted my long-time primary care physician at home, Dr. Bill Medwid, on a Sunday night and he got back to me within two minutes! Bill had helped me put together my entire Medical Kit for the boat, including all prescription drugs, so he was able to tell me quickly what I should take for my symptoms. Four days later the problem is gone. Thank you Dr. Medwid, for your rapid response and overall help and support of this trip.

• My co-skipper Roger Junet has turned me on to an internet music channel called “Radio Paradise” that he downloaded hours of fantastic music from. It has provided a most-needed soothing element to many night watches and I would highly recommend it. Talking Heads, Dire Straits, Men at Work, Amy Winehouse to name a few of my faves.

• I finished “The Long Way” by Bernard Moitessier and I have to admit I think he lost it a bit as he decide to not turn left up the Atlantic to return to the start/finish line in Plymouth, England. Rather than complete his circumnavigation and likely win the Round the World Race for single-handed yachts, he elected instead to continue sailing past Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin (Australia) and on to Tahiti.

He made a kind of “rage against the machine” rant against the destruction of nature and the path of development in the modern world which perhaps typified the sentiments of some in the late 1960s. Anyway, it is a peculiar book and Moitessier is quite the sailing savant. I also picked up and buzzed through “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” which is another classic. It’s an amazing story of survival in the Antarctic and a testament to the human spirit. Highly recommend!
Beyond that, we soldier on in our loose three hours on / three hours off existence, which seems to work pretty well, except that we generally hang out together in the middle of the day for lunch and projects and do all sail changes and maneuvers together. Like the military, life at sea in a small sailboat is made up of long periods of boredom tinged with anxiety, followed by brief moments of abject terror.

I am really hoping that sailing long-distance offshore double-handed on a Class40 builds character and strengthens the soul. Perhaps like Siddhartha, I will find enlightenment. If not… the joy of exploring new terrain and lifestyles at the stopover ports while over-consuming with family and friends in all respects will have to suffice.

Race detailsEntriesTracker

First Leg Results:

The inaugural Globe40 is an eight leg round the world race for doublehanded Class40 teams. As all legs count toward the cumulative score, the longer distances more heavily weighted. The first leg, which took seven to eight days to complete, had a coefficient 1 while the second leg is ranked as a coefficient 3 leg. The race is expected to finish March 2023. Seven teams were ready to compete, but a Leg 1 start line collision eliminated The Globe En Solidaire with Eric and Léo Grosclaude (FRA) while the Moroccan team of Simon and Omar Bensenddik on IBN BATTOUTA retired before the Leg 2 start.

Tangier, Morocco – June 26

Leg 2 start: Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands – July 17
Leg 3 start: Port Louis, Mauritius
Leg 4 start: Auckland, New Zealand
Leg 5 start: Papeete, French Polynesia
Leg 6 start: Ushuaia, Argentina
Leg 7 start: Recife, Brazil
Leg 8 start: St Georges, Grenada

Lorient, France

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