Joe's Off to Bermuda Again
South Hamilton, MA - June 9, 2007
This morning Newport Rhode Island was a good place to leave. It was foggy and wet. Forty-one single-handed boats started the 16th biennial Bermuda 1-2 Race and headed south on their 635-mile crossing to Bermuda.
The fog that shrouded harbour lifted shortly before the start and a light south-westerly breeze gave the boats a spinnaker or code zero starboard start against a foul tide. As the boats sailed past an incoming ship in the East Passage, a light rain began to fall. These solo sailors were really looking forward to Bermuda even though it was still a wet lumpy ride across the ocean to the finish off St. Georges.
Racing got started with Class 5 that had just two boats, an Open 40 called Wild Eyes sailed by Michael Millard and the Open 50 sailed by Joe Harris. Wild Eyes is the former Velocity that Bermudian Alan Paris sailed in the Around Alone Race in 2002-03. Gryphon Solo is on her second trip to Bermuda in a month.
Harris took line honours in the Charleston to Bermuda Race on May 24th, and he won the Demonstration division in the 2006 Newport Bermuda Race. The two class 5 boats led by Gryphon Solo reached off into the Rhode Island Sound some 30 minutes after their start off of Goat Island. Joe gave a wave as he turned his attention to sailing and settling into the solo mode.
Six classes started with ten minutes between each start. The final start was for a group of eight Open 6.5 Minis sailing as a demonstration class. These are open 6.5 meter designs that are small, but meet strict safety requirements and must be self righting from 90 degrees with 100lbs on the masthead. They look somewhat like a mini Gryphon Solo
The race is sailed under PHRF handicapping and the boats range from Gryphon Solo at 69 to Robin, a Westsail 32 with a rating of 234. This means that Gryphon Solo gives them 305 seconds for each mile of the race. Harris has to beat Robin, Doug Campbell's Westsail by almost 54 hours.
Sailors expect good conditions for the race with moderate winds from the east, north and west. The offshore winds Saturday night were expected to be from the northeast at about 10 knots. Winds should be 10-18 through Monday afternoon or late Monday night.
"I will aim for the east side of a warm eddie north of the Gulf Stream," Harris said. "This should give me about a 2 knot push south to the stream. I plan to stay west of the Rhumb line through the stream then catch the west side of a cold eddie just below the steams south wall. This should also be a 2 knot southerly current to boost me on my way. I need to reach Bermuda by late Monday or high pressure may build back in and Ill find myself in the famous Bermuda race parking lot again, like the 2006 Bermuda Race, watching the slower boats make up their time."
You can get more information at http://www.gryphonsolo.com/page or at http://www.bermuda1-2.org/ and follow the race on iBoatTrack at http://charthorizon.com/races/2007_newport_bermuda1/htdocs/.
The 2007 Bermuda One-Two is organized by Goat Island Yacht Club, Ltd. and Newport (RI) Yacht Club, with support from the Rhode Island State Yachting Committee, the City of Newport, RI and the Town of St. George's, Bermuda. St. George's Dinghy & Sports Club is the host club in Bermuda.
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Portimao Global Ocean Race ("PGOR")
Joe, as skipper and owner of Gryphon Solo, is in full pursuit of his round-the-world campaign and this is the first of three events this season as he trains for the Portimao Global Ocean Race ("PGOR") now scheduled to start from Portimao, Portugal in September 2008. The race start was pushed back a year and the name changed to accommodate the new title sponsor and host port of Portimao. The race course remains the same, with stops in South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and South Carolina before returning to Portugal. The big red Open 50 will also sail in the Bermuda 1-2 and the Marblehead to Halifax Race this summer.
"I'm sailing over 3,000 miles to and from Bermuda this summer," Harris quipped, "and based on my experience, no two passages will be the same. The Gulf Stream and the Atlantic are full of surprises. Then I'm off again on July 9th from Marblehead to Halifax Nova Scotia, sailing in colder water, the powerful tides found in the Bay of Fundy and equally tricky currents around Halifax. I'm looking forward to another summer of great offshore racing.
"Going to Charleston for the C2B was important for me this year," Harris commented. "Charleston will be the last stop before the finish in the 2008-09 PGOR, with the race visiting the South Carolina in the spring of 2009.
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 .
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.