At 0137 EDT yesterday morning I crossed the finish line off Mills Breaker Buoy in Bermuda and heaved a large sigh of relief and satisfaction. It was a very fast and hard race and it was really satisfying to cross the line and set a new course record. The downwind conditions really suited Gryphon Solo, and we planed along very happily through most of the race. I can't remember an ocean race where I never reefed the main or sailed the boat upwind at all. Instead, I was focusde on the navigation and strategy and changing between downwind and reaching sails, always trying to get that last bit of performance out of GS. This boat has the best kharma of any boat I have ever sailed. I feel like I am sailing under a safe and lucky star aboard GS and that she will take care of me as long as I take care of her.
Looking back, the key moment in the race came when I exited the Gulf Stream after a very fast sail though it, and was becalmed and in danger of being sucked in a Southwest direction. After all the fast sailing to that moment, I saw my race going down the tubes as the wind vaporized and the boat was pulled by a three knot current in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go. Luckily, the wind filled in as forecasted and I put the spinnaker up and was off to the races again, breathing a large sigh of relief.
As I made my final approach to Bermuda from about 200 miles out, I was waiting for the wind to shift from a northerly to a westerly direction and set my strategy with that in mind. That shift took a little longer than expected but ultimately did come, and I broadreached to Bermuda at a boat speed equal to the wind speed, varying between 12 and 20 knots, at a true wind angle of about 110'. Glorious.
I am now off to the customs man to clear in and then get the boat cleaned up. More later.