Boston, MA - As we slept in comfort last night, Joe Harris was pushing with all his might to gain another mile at sea in the rough North Atlantic. At midnight his intense quest for command of The Transat's Open-50 fleet was attained as he swept past Kip Stone to take the lead aboard Wells Fargo-American Pioneer. This upset startled and pleased Harris at the same time, who bas stated many times that The Transat race was intended as a shakedown - to discover shortcomings in the boat and areas for improvement in his own performance as a new entry in the pro solo sailing circuit.
"We've discovered a new gear," said Harris, referring to his boat as a humanlike partner. "I'm getting more comfortable with her as we go and my confidence in her only seems to induce more incredible speed and efficiency."
Joe Harris recorded his best day yet aboard Wells Fargo-American Pioneer, covering 317 miles in one 24-hour period. His average speed over the same period was 13.21 knots. Harris is currently 1,252 miles from the finish line in Boston Harbor and 19 miles ahead of Kip Stone aboard Ariforms. The two Americans will be faced with a host of tactical challenges in the upcoming final days of racing, each hoping that Neptune smiles on them with conditions that favor their boat design and position.
Performance does not appear without sacrifice, and Harris explained via Iridium satellite phone service the brutal conditions he is enduring.
"It is so wet, cold and windy on deck that motivating myself to crawl out of the little warm living module and into the torment on deck is a challenge. Wells Fargo-American Pioneer is flying from wave to wave, with a dramatic heel and cold Atlantic water gushing over the deck into my face and often soaking my recently dried long johns. Somehow I muster the strength to climb aloft, due to some twisted combination of fierce Competitive spirit and adrenaline."
Joe Harris is no stranger to risk. He is the Chief Financial Officer of New Boston Fund, a $1.5 billion real estate investment and development company. Business on land requires Harris to take calculated risks every day. The key is eliminating or mitigating as many risks as possible to maximize the chances of success.
To follow Joe across the Atlantic and to get daily updates from the Wells Fargo- American Pioneer yacht, please visit www.gryphonsolo.com. Joe will be feeding the site with diary entries and photos taken aboard the yacht. Photos and video are available upon request.
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.
Meaghan Van Liew
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