2004 Transat

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And down the stretch
June 15, 2004

We are finally rounding the clubhouse turn and headed for the finish桞anging away on a 25 knot beam reach on another cold, gray rainy day in the North Atlantic. With about 270 miles left to go, it would be easy to believe I could just carry this nice Southerly breeze right into Boston Harbor, cross the line, drop the sails and head for the bar, as I believe fellow Bostonians Rich Wilson on Great American and Kip Stone on Artforms are expected to do this afternoon. Unfortunately that is not the weather picture that is shaping up. More light and variable conditions and headwinds are forecast as I approach the coast, much to my chagrin. Haven't I really had more than my fair share of that menu??

Anyway, I have to get mentally prepared for a slow and difficult finish to this long and arduous solo journey that began 15 days ago. I am battling Okami for second place and while I was behind by more than 70 miles two days ago, I am now in front by some 30 miles梐lthough that lead is pretty tenuous with the fickle conditions ahead. I have had an excellent past 24 hours with some 280 miles covered in beam reaching conditions over Browns Bank, just South of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia. I now head into the Gulf of Maine hoping to not "park up" or stop completely again as another system goes through, but it is entirely possible. My hope is to finish during daylight hours on Thursday and if possible to attend a press conference for the three Boston sailors in the race but we will have to see if that is in the cards. For now, I am trying to coax every ounce of speed out of the Wells Fargo American Pioneer while the wind is still strong. This means reefing and unreefing the mainsail, and changing from staysail to solent and back to keep the boat moving at top speed. I am ready to finish and see my family who I have missed very much, particularly my six-year-old son Griffin who is wondering whatever became of his Dad who has been gone nearly a month. Here's hoping that my next installment is sent from the cafe at the Boston Harbor Hotel where I am sipping a cool mint julep in the shade. Adios muchachos and ciao for now.

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