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Skipper's Logs Archive: Newport Bermuda 2006

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84 Miles Out and Becalmed
June 20, 2006

Hello Friends

The pace of Gryphon Solo has slowed continously until about 30 minutes ago we saw the dreaded 0.00 knots per hour on our speedo. Becalmed. Completley stopped. Glassy sea. Uuuuuuuugh. We are 84 miles out from bermuda but with zero boatspeed, the estimated time of arrival is infinite. My wife Kim and two sons Griffin (8) and Emmett (2.75) are in Bermuda wondering whats happened to daddy. Daddy is wondering whats happened to daddy, as I'm sure are many other husbands and fathers on the 270 boats wallowing around out here. This was not in the race brochure.
 
As sailors and loyal Gryphon Solo followers know, calm happens. In the 2004 Transat Race (solo from Plymouth, UK to Boston in 16 days) I was becalmed 3 times for periods up to 8 hours. In the 2005 Transat Jacques Vabre race (double-handed from France to Brazil in 19 days) we were becalmed by the Cape Verde Islands and then again in the Doldrums. When the wind machine shuts off, you have to go into a different mode, which revolves around just keeping the boat pointed in the right direction and moving. It is very basic sailing - where is the wind coming from, how can I make the boat go. Puffs come and go, giving rise to optimistic hopes of a sustained breeze, hoping that this next zephyr will turn into the new wind.
 
It's important to keep the routine going - eating, sleeping, changing watches, keeping the boat clean - and for everybody to take a big chill pill and settle in to the task at hand. The experienced GS crew is taking this all in stride, only hoping that the rest of the fleet is experiencing these same calms. Our main competition, "Maximus", the 100' super-maxi is only about 5 miles in front of us we think, so our chances of winning our class still exist. We were all hoping for an arrival in Bermuda today, but it now looks like tomorrow. Hopefully Bermuda will not have run out of rum by the time we get there.
 
Not much more to say, so cheers until tomorrow,
Joe



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