Boston, MA - After fickle winds attempted to trounce Joe Harris' spirit for a few slow days at sea, the imminence of his Boston home quickly turned the pain to profit as he approached The Transat finish line at Deer Island Light. The winds grew, and Wells Fargo-American Pioneer seemed to spread her wings and fly towards home. Harris crossed The Transat finish line at 11:21 p.m. local time just off the Deer Island Light in Boston Harbor for a 2nd place victory in the 50-foot monohull class. He was elated, tired, joyous and relieved.
"This has been an incredible race," said Harris from the deck of Wells Fargo-American Pioneer moments after crossing the line. "It feels really wonderful to have stretched my limits as an individual, exploring the vast extremes that solo ocean racing inherently presents. Now I know I can do it, and I look forward to the miles ahead."
Approaching Boston at night while tired, anxious and alone is no fun. There is traffic on the water, with shipping lanes and the shore to concern a solo sailor. Joe Harris experienced an immensely fast approach, speeding along at 16+ knots. No doubt Harris was egged-on by the thought of seeing his two young sons, one of which is on the cusp of taking his first steps.
During the Transat race Harris spent more than 16 nights at sea in the treacherous North Atlantic, encountering everything from 50+ knots of wind to dead calm. The Transat is a race of extremes, an environment which Harris will embrace as he prepares himself and the boat for the upcoming calendar of solo races he plans to enter.
The Transat is merely Harris' first foray into the competitive world of professional offshore solo sailing. His lifelong dream is to sail around the world alone, and his sights are set on the 5-Oceans competition of 2006-7, a grueling 28,000 mile race around the globe alone. His plan is to continue competing in a variety of solo and short-handed events such as the Transat Jacques Vabre, Bermuda 1-2 and Marblehead-Halifax, in preparation for the grand challenge of 5-Oceans (previously called Around Alone). His intent is clear and he has purchased a proven racing machine for the task, a boat that won the 2002-3 edition of the race in Class II.
To view written dispatches and photos from Wells Fargo-American Pioneer during The Transat, please visit www.gryphonsolo.com. Photos are available upon request.
A press conference featuring Joe Harris and the other two American entries in The Transat will occur on Thursday, June 17 at 2:00 p.m. at the Pavilion located behind the Boston Harbor Hotel.
In The Transat race each sailor skippers his or her craft alone from Plymouth, England to Boston, Massachusetts. The race is known as the oldest and most prestigious solo sailing race in the world and only the most serious sailors with the highest proven stamina and mental toughness venture to participate in this extreme challenge. This race is the original, and arguably the toughest of trans-ocean races, taking competitors nearly 3,000 miles upwind across the treacherous, North Atlantic.
Joe Harris, 44, is an accomplished businessman and experienced sailor who has set his sites on competing in several professional offshore races including the grand task of 5-Oceans, a solo race around the globe previously known as Around Alone. Harris currently holds the position of Chief Financial Officer at New Boston Fund, a $1.5 billion real estate investment and development company. His primary sponsors include Wells Fargo Bank, Goulston & Storrs, and New Boston Fund. He is also a husband and father of two young boys.