As many American families sit down for their traditional Thanksgiving turkey, Joe Harris and his British co-skipper Josh Hall are feasting on a light freeze dried meal washed down with desalinated water. Fortunately their focus is not on the food but the finish as their first sight of land is just hours away. At 16:00GMT Gryphon Solo had under 50 miles to go and was sailing in near perfect conditions at 11 knots.
"Right now things are great on board," Joe commented in a satellite phone call. "It's blistering hot but other than that life is just fine. We are hoping that the wind will hold all the way to the finish but expect it to lighten a little as we get closer to land. Our big fear is that it goes glassy calm as we get near Salvador and we sit for the night watching the lights on land." The area around Salvador is a known parking lot and many races have been scuttled at the last minute as boats bob within sight of the finish, but Gryphon Solo has a commanding lead over second place Artforms and even a night parked up will not hurt their lead.
While Joe and Josh keep their focus for the remaining miles they will not be able to dismiss thoughts of getting back to dry land. Few places offer as warm a welcome as Salvador and moments after stepping ashore they will be awash in Brazilian hospitality. A tray of fresh fruit and a couple of caipirinhas await. The fruit will be welcome after three weeks of freeze dried rations but it's the caipirinhas that will sing hymns as they go down. This Brazilian staple is made from cacha鏰, a powerful vodka type drink mixed with limes and sugar. They have a nice smooth taste and a kick like a three legged donkey. Salvador is a city that comes alive after midnight so even if their arrival is on the late side, they will find plenty to do and all of it will be sweeter after 19 days at sea.
There will be new audio recordings posted soon to gryphonsolo.com. There will be another update from Joe after they finish and a wrap up from Brazil over the weekend.