GryphonSolo2 News


Sailing Under a Dark Cloud
June 25, 2007

Now North of the Stream Sailing With More Pace

After the first night's round of constant sail changes and repairs, Joe Harris and Dobbs Davis aboard Gryphon Solo in the duo leg of the Bermuda 1-2 were looking forward to a mellower night last night. No such luck.

This time the culprit was light and variable winds, making sail trim and boat handling a challenge. Previous problems with a leak in the stern and the broken batten seemed to be OK so we could focus on sailing the boat. As the night progressed, the wind became more fickle until finally a huge black cloud came over us and sucked all the wind out of the area.

It was kind of eerie as the light from the half moon showed through the dark cloud and the winds swirled in 360 degrees of random directions. Dobbs Davis and Joe sat in the cockpit as the sails slapped and slapped and cursed big black clouds that are notorious for sucking the wind out of the area beneath them.

Ken Campbell at Commander's Weather has always warned sailors to stay away from clouds as they can leave you in your own private wind hole while others around you sail away. Luckily last night we were becalmed for only about an hour and were then able to get moving again albeit slowly.

As Dobbs went off watch and Joe came on, they looked on the horizon and saw yet another big black cloud. Joe tried to sail away from it but it overtook the big red boat and Joe waited for the same tortuous swirling, wind vortex but instead the wind just went to about 5 knots and stayed there. They dodged that bullet.

As the dawn came the wind improved and the duo tried to claw their way to the west as we had been pushed far to the east by the northwesterly winds. They made little westerly progress, as Gryphon Solo does not really like to go to windward in light air so they reached off and hoped to get through the foul current of the Gulf Stream as we entered in a less-than-ideal location.
The water temp rose from 72 to 77 and the Sargasso weed indicated we were in the stream being pushed eastward at 2.5 knots. The wind fell as the wind was coming from the same direction as the current, making the apparent wind less. They scratched and kicked and clawed our way through the stream in light air and emerged on the north side with a nice southwesterly breeze allowing us to make 10 knots toward Newport as.

The weather files show the wind to be pretty steady from the WSW over the remaining 250 miles so Joe and Dobbs will be tight reaching and hopefully putting some distance on the completion. They have to beat everyone in to Newport by at least 20 hours to have a chance of winning on corrected time so we have our work cut out for us. It will be interesting to see how this leg shakes out as well as the combined times from the first and second legs to determine the overall winner.

View pictures from the start of Leg #2:

You can get more information at or at and follow the race on iBoatTrack at

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.

Media Contact
Talbot Wilson
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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 .

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.

The Future...
Future plans for Joe and his Open 50 include the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race, and the 2008/09 Portimao Global Ocean Race ( 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

GryphonSolo2 Campaign / Joe Harris Ocean Racing
471 Bridge Street, Hamilton, MA 01982
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