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GryphonSolo2 headed for Portland

by Joe Harris on 29 Jun 2014
GryphonSolo2 Billy Black http://www.BillyBlack.com
GryphonSolo2 and her double-handed crew have begun the long journey back from Bermuda to Portland, Maine. The distance is a bit more than 700 miles so it is looking like about four days. Our time in Bermuda was fun as always, but fairly brief as we got in a day and a half later than usual. The race itself was at times fun but often frustrating in extremely light wind, so I am placing it in the record books as my 10th Bermuda Race and moving on.

One correction from my email from the boat after we finished congratulating Pleiad Racing on winning the 'Class 40 Cup'. It was a remark said in jest as there were only three Class 40’s left in the race and the last I had heard the other boat was way behind. As it turned out, the Rodger Martin designed Class 40 Icarus being chartered by www. Jeffrey MacFarlane.com came out of nowhere from the east to win the battle. This is a real testament to Rodger Martin for designing a boat at the very beginning of the Class 40 rule that has turned out to be very fast after having a difficult beginning to its life. The original owner of the boat (which was named 'Gwahir') did not treat the boat well and he ran it up on a sand bar on Fire Island and abandoned it. The boat was recovered and sat in Newport for quite a while before it was finally rebuilt and donated to the Kings Point Merchant Maritime Academy program headed by Ralfie Seitz. Ralfie then chartered the boat to Ben Poucher and Tim Fetsch who put the boat completely back together and raced her extensively with good success. It is always a great story when an older boat can be rejuvenated and gain a new lease on life.

So back to the delivery home - it is very nice to be able to sail the boat without the pressure of a race, and my plan is to use this trip as a training run for my upcoming single-handed racing in the Global Ocean Race. What that means is trying to work on the sail changes and maneuvers as if I were alone on the boat, with my double-handed partner Rob Windsor timing the maneuvers and offering coaching and ideas for ways to do things more efficiently. It definitely takes longer to do everything when you are by yourself and each maneuver requires a bit more planning as everything must be done sequentially rather than simultaneously like on a fully crewed boat. While I have certainly done a lot of this SH stuff before, it always helps to work on it offshore.

I had my first go this afternoon in changing from the Solent jib to the fractional A6 spinnaker and then back to the jib as Rob looked on. It all went well but the pad and paper came out as improvements to process and the boat were envisioned.

We are headed to my friend Brian Harris’ Maine Yacht Center boatyard in Portland for a refit so look forward to working with Brian and his crew to get the boat in top shape.

So that’s it for now from 33’08N x 64’ 57W cruising along at nine knots towards Nantucket GryphonSolo2 website

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