Fifth & Final NCR Skipper Log Entry:
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Crossing the Finish Line of the Normandy Channel Race
May 28, 2011
GryphonSolo2 finished its maiden race yesterday, crossing the finish line of the Normandy Channel Race at about 8:30 AM French time. GS2 was the 9th boat across the line in the fleet of 17. While there are of course many things to improve upon, the good news is that we made it around a very challenging race course through some very strong winds and high seas without any damage to the boat or its crew.
The boat withstood a punishing first test and I am very pleased that everything hung together despite the incredible pounding. The boat seems to be exceptionally fast downwind, so our challenge is to refine the onboard systems and sail the boat closer to its maximum all-around, but particularly upwind, where we were not on the pace. The Class 40 fleet over here is exceptionally deep and strong, with many great pro sailors pushing their boats to the limit, so the performance bar is high. It will not be easy to win silverware over her in Europe in this class, but hey, if it were easy, anybody could do it, right?
So now the task at hand is to clean up and dry out a very soggy boat and make the long laundry list of things to repair or improve. Our damage list includes the carbon radar bracket that broke on day two and two leaky ballast tanks that caused the boat to have water constantly underfoot. The sail inventory all looked good, right down to the storm sails, which all came out of the bag for the first time.
My rough plan is to leave the boat over here in Europe for another three months and point at doing the Fastnet race starting August 12th in Cowes, England. I am investigating shipping the boat home from there, as I don't have the time to deliver the boat on its own bottom back to Newport.
So, overall, the Normandy Channel Race goes down as a "must do" for any Class 40 owner, as the tour of the French and English and Irish shorelines is spectacular, and the sailing competition is superb. I am very pleased to be back in the short-handed sailing world with a great new boat and a challenging agenda leading up to the Global Solo Race in 2013, so I look forward to sending out periodical updates in the months ahead as I search for sponsorship to try take the program to the next level of performance!
Ciao for now -
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