Spectacular Bermuda Start for Bermuda Leg Two
Leak in the Starboard Lower Rudder Bearing Disrupts Sleep
It has been a very busy 36 hours since the start of the duo leg of the Bermuda 1-2 on Friday. The start was exciting with the harbor start directly downwind through the narrow St. Georges cut and out into the Atlantic. Joe's and his sailing partner, Dobbs Davis, had conceived and practiced a very nice starting maneuver only to get messed up when the boat went into irons just two minutes before the start.
An Open 50 with no jib up does not tack very well and when you don't make it through the tack, you start sailing backwards... fast. Luckily they rolled out the staysail quickly and got the boat going again and were on the start line on the gun, but it was not pretty. Gryphon Solo sailed next to the Open 40 "Wild Eyes" for a while but gradually pulled away and led the fleet out the cut and around Mills Breaker buoy and then Kitchen Shoals and off into the Atlantic.
"Gryphon Solo's strategy was to head to the west of the rhumb line in order to get into the favorable current of a cold eddy south of the gulf stream." Harris reported today. "We were steaming happily along when the wind went from to SW into the NW, making it impossible for us to get far enough west to benefit from the current. So we plugged on- hard on the wind, healed over at a 30 degree angle which makes it difficult to do just about anything."
"As night fell," Harris continued, "the wind increased and we shortened sail as blue water rolled over the deck. Around 2:00 am I discovered a large amount of water in the lazarette (stern compartment) caused by a leak in the starboard lower rudder bearing. When we were healed over so far, the tube that comes up from the hull that encloses the rudderpost filled with water and overflowed into the lazarette. When I discovered it, there was enough water in there that it took me 20 bucket loads to dry it out. I was soaked and exhausted but at least I knew the source of the leak and reduced sail further to lessen the heal angle to keep the boat dry."
After a long night of sail changes, disaster management, little sleep and no food, the sun came out and Joe and Dobbs discovered a broken batten in the mainsail. When battens break, they can punch through and tear the sail, perhaps causing a catastrophic tear across the whole sail.
The two sailors discussed the situation and decided to lower the sail to remove the batten and see if the sail would work without it. It didn't- the leach (trailing edge) flapped like crazy and the sail was way too full. So they dropped the sail again and reloaded the broken batten, making sure there were no jagged ends to poke through the cloth. Hopefully it will hold until Gryphon Solo gets to Newport to replace the batten.
With very questionable winds in the forecast Gryphon Solo's strategy has been reduced to trying to keep the boat going fast in the right general direction of Newport and try not to break anything else. The smaller boats have been doing pretty well in this light stuff and Gryphon Solo has not been able to separate from the fleet like she did in the first leg.
Dobbs Davis is proving to be a great sailing partner with Joe and they have been getting to know one another as they work to get the best performance possible out of the big red boat the boat.
View pictures from the start of Leg #2:
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.
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.