Race Commentary


Going Gangbusters
November 18, 2005

The Current Boat Dashboard

Gryphon Solo is going gangbusters as Joe Harris and Josh Hall eat up the last few miles of fine sailing before they hit the doldrums later today. During the day Thursday the boat was in its element surfing cresting seas with a full size spinnaker drawing and a creamy white wake spitting out behind. This morning the speed is still up as they gain every last advantage from the steady trade winds. In a few hours it's all going to change.

"We are having just a perfect time of it out here," Josh Hall said in a satellite phone call. "The boat is really loving this stuff. Right now Joe is at the helm with a huge grin on is face. I am at the nav station watching the speedo which often reads over 20 knots. We are on the edge of the spinnaker so hand steering is critical. What we don't want is for the sail to collapse and refill. That could be disastrous." The northeast trade winds are well established and have taken the Open 50 fleet south at a record pace. They have passed the Cape Verde Islands and all of the competitors are lining themselves up for the doldrums which loom just over the horizon. This tricky area can easily scuttle the race for Joe and Josh and a quick and problem free transit is uppermost on their minds. Josh continues. "We have been studying the weather information and feel that we are perfectly lined up for a quick transit of the doldrums. We hope to be in and out within 24 hours. If the Open 60 fleet is anything to go on we should be into the trade winds on the other side fairly quickly." The Open 60 monohull fleet had a quick transit of the region and the first 60 foot monohulls are due to finish in Brazil sometime tonight.

The parking lot that slowed Joe and Josh a couple of days ago crushed Servane Escoffier and Bertrand de Broc on Vedettes de Breha. The sistership to Gryphon Solo took a lot longer to get free of the grip of the high pressure with the result that they have dropped back into third place. The old nemesis Artforms has slipped into second and is on a charge, now only 270 miles astern of Gryphon Solo. "We expect that they will make more gains on us as we get into the doldrums, but hopefully we will be first out the other side and into the new wind and will reopen our lead," Josh said. "From there it's fairly straightforward sailing to Brazil." The steamy South American city lies just over 1,500 miles beyond the horizon. By early next week Gryphon Solo will be on a final push to the finish and hopefully the first major victory for Joe. There is still a long way to go, however, and in sailing anything can happen.

There are no audio reports available today, but we expect to post some audio from Joe over the weekend!

Written By:
Brian Hancock

GryphonSolo2 Campaign / Joe Harris Ocean Racing
471 Bridge Street, Hamilton, MA 01982
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