It is with great pleasure that I can inform you that Gryphon Solo crossed the finish line off Salvadore de Bahia Brazil on Thursday November 24th (Thanksgiving Day) at 23:05:45 GMT (6:05 PM EST), to win the Monohull 50 class of the prestigious 4,700 mile Transat Jacques Vabre race from LaHavre, France. At the time we crossed, we were over 200 miles ahead of second place Artforms and third place Vedettes de Brehat and over 800 miles ahead of fourth place Top 50 Guadeloupe and fifth place Polarity Solo. Congratulations and best wishes to each of these skippers for a fine race and safe finish. I believe that Kip Stone and I are the first Americans to enter this race, which has been historically dominated by the French, and Gryphon Solo is the first American boat to win its class. Bravo Stars and Stripes!
I can't describe how gratifying this win is after a long two years of coming in second to Artforms. In the Transat race last summer, a 3,000 mile bash to windward, AF clearly held an upwind advantage over GS and I addressed this deficiency this winter by designing and installing new dagger boards. In the TJV, the boats faced a wide variety of conditions with a lot of heavy air downwind sailing and GS really showed her form. The eight year old Finot-designed, JMV-built French red rocket proved that the old stallion still has her legs!
Sailing with Josh Hall as my co-skipper has been great in that we have been able to push the boat a lot harder than I normally would as a single-hander and Josh's emphasis on hand steering and always seeking maximum performance has propelled the GS campaign to a higher level. One really couldn't ask for a better shipmate than Josh and I'm sure we will both treasure the great memories of our 19 days of awesome sailing together in the TJV.
I would also like to thank my family - particularly my wife Kim and sons Griffin (age 8) and Emmett (age 2) as well as my sister Wendie Demuth and brother-in-law Peter Aubry, my mother Katrina Parson and uncle Jan Rozendaal, for supporting me so much in this endeavor. Without their support I would not be here today enjoying this victory. I would also like to thank my shore support team led by Laurent Meyer, who meticulously prepared the boat for the race, Frederique Lemonnier, who provided news releases to the French press, Brian Hancock who has so elegantly described the race action to all audiences, and Blake Jackson who so ably masterminded the GS web site. I am very lucky to have such a great team and share this victory with all of them.
Lastly I would like to thank my work colleagues at New Boston Fund for covering for me during my absence, and all my sponsors: Wells Fargo & Company, Goulston and Storrs, New Boston Fund, Iridium, Telenor, Doyle Sailmakers, Harken, New England Rope, & AlpineAire Foods - thank you one and all for all your support. Happy Thanksgiving to all and let the celebration begin!
Joe - Open Class 50 - Gryphon Solo
Elapsed time: 19 days, 9 hours, 5 minutes, 45 seconds
Average boatspeed on theoretical route of 4,340 miles: 9.33 knots
Check Back: Finish Photos, Audio, & Race Wrap-ups will be posted on the Gryphon Solo website by 8AM Friday!