It's a blue monday on the red rocket. News from Hugh Piggin, Charleston to Bermuda Race skipper for Gryphon Solo, is not good for the big red boat. Joe Harris'Open 50 is making slow progress through light air some 250 nm east of Bermuda on Monday morning. The boat started the 777 mile Charleston to Bermuda Race on Friday.
"Welcome to the "light air blues," Piggin wrote at dawn on Monday. "We are in the mid Atlantic parking garage! The wind hole we were trying to outrun has caught us. Yesterday we had northerly's of 5-10kts which is just under Gryphon Solo's power band. We made steady progress east, knowing that the next 24hrs would be pretty important."
"Unfortunately, the door shut on us." he continued. "The last 15 hrs have been rather frustrating, starting with unexpected adverse current of up to 2 kts for the past six hours. The breeze started dying around sunset and we have been working the boat hard all night to achieve 1-2 kts of speed. In light air you actually work a lot harder for a lot less, adjusting controls constantly for minute changes in the wind- very frustrating, but necessary."
"So, as we do everything we can to get through the dead zone and into the new breeze," Piggin concluded. "I have cast a few nervous glances over to the western horizon. I think the boats to the north have had a better last 24 than us."
Joe Harris, owner and the regular skipper of Gryphon Solo who had to remain at home for personal reasons, took the chance this morning to make some of his own comments.
"It does appear that the rest of the fleet to the North and West did have better winds last night, as evidenced by boat speeds of 7 to 8 knots versus Gyphon Solo at 3 knots, Harris said. "The fleet has made up a bit of ground on GS."
"The Red Rocket needs wind above 8 knots to really get going and utilize her 'weapons' i.e. her canting keel, daggerboards and water ballast. In very light air, these weapons "stay in the holster" and the wide beam and large wetted surface of the boat make her a bit sticky trying to go upwind in very light air."
"We usually cant the keel to leeward by 15' in light conditions to tip the boat over and reduced wetted surface and drag and hopefully the new Code Zero sail is making the best of what little wind there is," Harris concluded.
The forecast looks like stronger winds today, so hopefully Gyphon Solo is not much more than a day out of Bermuda. According to iBoatTrack position reporting, at 8:17 EDT Gryphon Solo was 247 nm from Bermuda making an averageof 4.7Kts to the East in 2.3kt WNE breeze. The wind grid on iBoatTrack doesn't look good for arrival in Bermuda anytime soon.
For race details go to http://www.charlestontobermuda.com/.
Gryphon Solo is supported by sponsorship from Iridium, Doyle Sailmakers, Awlgrip/Interlux, New England Rope and Alpine Air Food and is actively seeking title sponsorship and partners in this amazing race. The full story of Joe Harris' campaign and sponsorship opportunities for the Portimao Global Ocean Race is at www.gryphonsolo.com