Hello sports fans,
The crew of Gryphon Solo spent Thursday and Friday morning analyzing weather and gulf stream forecasts, getting food and supplies on board and stowed and generally preparing our vessel for the 635 mile offshore passage. There were 16 classes of racers and the starting sequence began at 1:00, but we didn"™t start until 3:20, so it was not a stressful morning. There was a large spectator fleet off Castle Hill in Newport, with most of the attention focused on the 98"™ "Speedboat" and the Puma-sponsored Volvo 70 "Il Mostro". We are in the same class as these two hotshots so it was fun to spar with them a bit in the pre-start and watch former America"™s Cup helmsman Ken Read handle his 70"™ stead as if it were a horse- bringing the boat to a full stop, sailing backwards and then executing a beautifully timed port tack start that sent the red-clad Puma boys off in fine style. Gryphon Solo was a little late to the line and not quite on our game initially, but we got ourselves squared away and began moving well down the course as we reeled in some of the smaller boats that started before us. After a lovely afternoon of tight reaching along at 10 knots or so, we changed from our Solent jib to our Code Zero sail and saw a nice increase in speed before the sail unexpectedly tore from front to back and we had to wrestle it to the deck. The sail does not really look repairable and we are very bummed to lose it as it a potent weapon in light air and we do not have a similar sail to replace it.
After a beautiful night with a full moon, many stars and mild temperatures, the breeze has now slackened off to about 7 knots of true wind speed and we are doing about 5 knots directly upwind. Light air- upwind- it must be another Bermuda race. We will have to strictly enforce the "no whining" rule. Our crew of five has paired up and fallen into our watch schedule of 3 hours on, 3 hours off at night and 4 hours on/off in the day, with me navigating and pitching in where needed. The road to Bermuda looks paved with winds on the nose, so it could take a bit longer than expected. All we can do now is try to make good routing decisions and sail the boat as best we can in the light and variable conditions.
Until tomorrow- Be Well.