At the 14:00 GMT poll today Gryphon Solo was just under 600 miles from the finish in Brazil, a distance that's less than the famous Newport to Bermuda Race, less than the Fastnet Race and less than the Sydney to Hobart Race. In short the Anglo America duo of Joe Harris and Josh Hall are sniffing the barn and putting the final touches on a near perfect race from France. Both sailors are familiar with these famous yacht races having competed in them a number of times, and being able to measure the distance-to-go in a well known chunk has thoughts turning to life on land.
"We have around 590 miles to go," Joe said in a satellite phone call. "That's less than a Bermuda Race. Having done that race 20 times I know just how far we are from the finish. A couple of good days sailing and we should be picking up the scent of roasting meat." Gryphon Solo is currently just over a hundred miles off the coast of Brazil slightly north of the latitude of Natal. They are sailing close hauled on port tack in a steady southeasterly breeze making 10 knots through the water. "We are hoping that the wind comes around a bit to give us a better angle," Joe continued. "It would make the sailing a little easier and give us better boat speed, but we are not complaining. It's a drag race from here to the finish and we are keeping our wits about us and concentrating on keeping the boat sailing fast."
Some damage to their sails hampered the crew over the last few days but a temporary repair carried out by Josh Hall while up the mast has allowed them to continue using their all-important Solent Jib. Josh describes the trip aloft in an email to the shore team. "This morning we put our repair plan into action. We laid up a pseudo 3DL patch (no lawsuits please) with sticky back dacron making a sandwich of some stranded vectran line we have onboard. I then went aloft to the top spreader where the damaged leech arrived with the sail unfurled. An hour later the patch was sikaflexed and sewn on and we were back in action which is more than I can say for my legs which had lost all feeling from the blood-blocking harness. We sailed a bit soft for two hours to let the sikaflex cure and bond the repair into one, and then put the helm down and powered the red rocket back onto course."
While it's a little early to predicting an ETA, if Gryphon Solo continues at its present speed, Joe and Josh should be crossing the finish line just as families back in the United States sit down for their traditional Thanksgiving meal. This year there is special reason to give thanks as Neptune has once again allowed a band a merry sailors to skirt turbulent waters and arrive safely in a far off land filled with exotic spices, a samba beat and more meat places per square foot than any other place on earth. Can't be all bad.
Via Satellite: New Audio Posted Today
There are new audio recordings at gryphonsolo.com. [ CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ] There will be another update from Joe before they finish with a wrap up from Brazil over the weekend.