Dear Sailing Anarchy,
Joe Harris reporting in, owner of the Open Class 50 Gryphon Solo, from chilly Boston, Mass. I think the last time I wrote to SA I was in the middle of the Atlantic during the Transat Jacques Vabre race, debating with Kip Stone and Merf Owen on archrival Artforms, the wisdom of sailing with a full main and masthead kite in 30 knots of wind. Those boys had just torn up two kites in pursuit of the fleet Gryphon Solo and co-skipper Josh Hall and I felt that perhaps they should reduce their testosterone levels and keep the boat in one piece.
I am writing today on a different but related topic, to announce my entry in to the Global Ocean Challenge (GOC) around-the-world sailing race starting in September 2007. The reason that the two topics are related is that the idea for the GOC was borne aboard Gryphon Solo while offshore during the TJV. I had been complaining to Josh that the 5Oceans race had changed dramatically from the old format of the Around Alone, and now looked more like a half-Vendee. I was an avid follower of the Around Alone and always dreamed of sailing around the world alone - but really liked the format of sailing solo for about a month and then stopping to decompress, fix your boat, see your family, get to know your fellow competitors and explore the cool country you stopped in. Places like Capetown, South Africa - Tauranga, New Zealand - Punta del Este, Uruguay and Charleston, South Carolina.
So I said to Josh," we should just start our own race"..... and after a flurry of emails with Brian Hancock, who was writing race commentary for our web site, the new race was born. Brian and Josh have done a ton of work in a few short months, culminating in the race announcement a few weeks. This new race - which is open to 40 and 50 footers and is also single or double-handed for the 40's - should be a return to the great spirit of friendly competition that was the original BOC Around Alone. Josh Hall and Brian Hancock - each 3-time circumnavigators - are ideal race managers and will run the race with an eye towards not only delivering value to the sponsors but also providing the competitors and their families with an unforgettable experience.
I hope that many of the sailing anarchists out there who may have dreamed of sailing around the world might take this opportunity to join me in the GOC and make the dream come true.
Open 50 Gryphon Solo