by Joe Harris
GryphonSolo2’s Joe Harris updates on the Newport Bermuda Race start and their progress this far.
Greetings from GS2 as we approach the continental shelf. Life is good right now - a good breeze, flat seas and boatspeed nearly equivalent to windspeed of about seven knots, which is rare.
It has been a busy day but in a way pretty chill as our start was not until 3:20 so we had most the day to make our final preparations. We attended the weather and gulf stream briefing from Ken Campbell and his colleagues at Commanders Weather at 7:30 and heard the forecast for light winds and groaned along with everyone else (most of the captains and navigators from the 170 boat fleet were there). We moved on to the grocery store and bought the fairly minimal provisions needed to augment our dehydrated 'astronaut chow' dinners and then out to the boat on its mooring in front of the NYYC in Newport.
We meandered out to the start line and took care of some last-minute details on the sails and running rigging and then watched the starts of the 14 classes in front of us. They sent off the double-handed class last, which we found puzzling. We would have thought they would have started the slowest boats first and the fastest boats last, but they did not and we could not see the logic to the starting order, but whatever. There was a good crowd on the sloping lawn of the Castle Hill Inn overlooking the starting line and it looked like everyone was having a fine time. Our start was not particularly spectacular as we got a little too far from the line and the wind fell to five knots so we were a bit late and struggling in the light air upwind conditions.
However, we have persevered and have passed a lot of boats in the first 12 hours of this race so are feeling somewhat encouraged. We don’t know exactly where we stand but will hopefully get some info tomorrow.
The boats are beginning to spread out as the different strategies emerge and navigators place their bets on where to enter the gulf stream, now about 140 miles away.
So for now, here in the wee hours of the morning, we just have 'Kept on truckin, baby' and let the chips fall where they may.
PS - Thanks to all who wrote some very kind responses to my last transmission regarding my Dad - very much appreciated. Onward.
Race Tracker available here