At about 8:45 EDT Tuesday night Joe Harris, owner and usually the skipper of the Open 50 Gryphon Solo, received a jubilant call from Hugh Piggin, acting skipper of Gryphon Solo in the Charleston to Bermuda Race. "Joe," he said, "We have crossed the line!! The big red boat had started the Charleston to Bermuda Race on Friday May 18th and finished the 777 mile crossing in 4 days 20:45:23 according to data on the iBoatTrack race site:
All is good onboard and the boat immediately headed around the island to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club for a that famous Bermuda libation, a Gosling Dark and Stormy. Gryphon Solo sailed a strong race from start to finish, although there was a substantial period of light wind in the middle of the race that slowed the boat and allowed some of the other competitors to catch up. The J120's were performing particularly well with less wetted surface and good sail area to power them through the light spots.
In the last 50 miles, the winds came forward to a Northeasterly direction and Gryphon Solo had to beat to windward to get to the finish line off St. David's light. Overall, Piggin and the crew of Jeff Wargo, Susan Lee Ford and Hank Hofford sailed a very strong race to capture line honors in the boat's first entry into the C2B. More news from the boat will follow once the crew catches up on a shower and some sleep. Gyphon Solo owner Joe Harris will fly to Bermuda on Friday to skipper the boat on a solo crossing back to Newport in preparation for the next race, the Bermuda 1-2. The skipper's log and photos from the C2B are at http://www.gryphonsolo.com/page.
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 the Portimao Global Ocean Race.
The full story of Joe Harris' campaign and sponsorship opportunities is at www.gryphonsolo.com.
About Gryphon Solo
Joe Harris' big red Open 50 is built entirely of lightweight carbon fiber and uses a hydraulically operated canting keel for added stability. The boat has twin daggerboards and twin rudders to provide added "lift" to windward. The combination of massive sail area, stability and light construction gives the boat tremendous power and acceleration. Gryphon Solo is a modern racing machine, capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots while remaining stable and under control.
The yacht carries the latest high-tech electronics and communications equipment, allowing the skipper to not only sail competitively, but also to stay in touch with sailors, sponsors and the media from anywhere on earth.
Future plans for Joe and his Open 50 include the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race, and the 2008/09 Portimao Global Ocean Race (www.portimaoglobaloceanrace.com ) a solo, 'round the world race starting in Portimao, Portugal with stops in South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil, Charleston South Carolina and the finishing back in Portimao.
The Gryphon Solo Global Ocean Classroom will be a unique opportunity to reach young children with the great story of this adventure and the waters round the world. The Global Ocean Classroom curriculum will be available to schools and individual students and their parents for the September to June 2008-09 academic year, and will follow Harris and a courageous fleet of solo sailors as they battle the elements, their competitors and themselves over 30,000 miles of open ocean.
This will be an animated global adventure that will see students caught up in a unique learning experience as the adventure unfolds before their very eyes. They'll enjoy tracking the PGOR fleet daily via the Internet visiting faraway places once touched by the legendary Captain Joshua Slocum, the first sailor in history to complete a solo circumnavigation, over 100 years ago.
Joe and Team GS are actively seeking sponsorship for this sailing adventure, complemented by a branded education program as well as a post-race speaking and promotional tour. For information about Joe Harris and the Gryphon Solo program and sponsorship opportunities go to www.gryphonsolo.com.