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GryphonSolo2 - The Road to the Globe40 update

by Joe Harris, GryphonSolo2 12 Jan 19:20 PST
Solo around the world - GryphonSolo2 record attempt © GryphonSolo2

Happy New Year, one and all. We are not off to a flying start to 2022 with Omicron woes, but I'm hoping things turn up in the coming months.

So, a bit of news from the world of GS2 to report, as follows:

1. In October, I held a sailing camp in Portland, Maine and invited 7 potential co-skippers to join me aboard GS2 to see who might be the best fit for my co-skipper for Globe40 RTW race. We sailed for 5 days, enjoying friendly competition and training with fellow Class 40's 'Dragon' and 'Amhas'. At the conclusion, I offered the spot to Roger Junet, a 37 year-old insurance consultant and resident of Portland, Maine and experienced offshore sailor. Roger has sailed trans-Atlantic 3 times, once aboard a Volvo 70, and has sailed many miles in the Caribbean circuit. Rog was born and raised in the Italian Alps and speaks 4 languages fluently, including French, which should be very helpful in a race organized by a French company and many French teams. As you can see from the photo below, taken while we were trying on survival suits, Rog is fully ready to go offshore! We will both be taking the required 'Offshore Personal Survival Training' class as well as the 'Offshore Medical Training' class as required by the Globe40 in the coming months before sailing the boat to Europe in May.

2. Following the sailing camp, the mast was un-stepped, the boat was hauled (see photo of the bottom getting cleaned) and we jumped right into the worklist with the team from Maine Yacht Center (MYC). As we had expected the race to go last year (June 2021 original start date) until it was postponed by Covid, the list has not been that long this fall, more like annual maintenance than huge projects. Besides the annual cleaning, inspecting and repairing everything, the winches needed some love and the sail drive needed the seals replaced, as salt water was finding its way into the transmission fluid. We also pulled all the wires out of the mast to inspect the sleeve that protects the wires within the mast and found quite a bit of chafe, so will replace the sleeve with more chafe protection. Lastly, the two hydro-generators that supply most of the electricity while offshore, both needed an overhaul, so parts were ordered from Watt & Sea in France and they are being repaired.

3. As I reviewed the sail inventory with Mark Washeim from OneSails North Atlantic, it became clear that a few more upgrades were required to the existing sail inventory, as some sails remained from the 2015/16 solo circumnavigation. We had already added a new mainsail and primary solent jib and staysail last year, but this year the need for a new Code Zero and A5 fractional gennaker became apparent. So, the sail inventory for the race will be: mainsail, solent, staysail (on torsion cable with halyard lock), A2 kite (sock), A3 gennaker, Code Zero, A5 fractional furling gennaker, A6 fractional heavy air kite (in sock), storm jib (also on torsion cable with halyard lock). Hopefully this inventory will make it around the world, but I will also have a spare mainsail, solent and A2 in the event that a sail is damaged beyond repair.

4. The one big job we had to do was caused by a change in Class 40 rules that specifies the need for an additional 2 cubic meters of foam buoyancy (in addition to the 3 cm of foam buoyancy already in the boat) to be installed in all boats racing under Class 40 rules (as the Globe 40 is) in 2022. This rule change resulted from a Class 40 being swamped by a wave offshore and sinking, so the Class voted to increase the foam buoyancy requirement to 5 cubic meters to slightly exceed the boats displacement of approximately 4.5 tons. As the MYC team was busy, we looked across the pond to find Ross Hotchkiss (see photo below), a young and very talented boatbuilder who has been part of the Hugo Boss/ Alex Thomson Racing/ Vendee Globe team. Ross flew over from England and stayed in Portland for about six weeks, first completing work on GryphonSolo2, then on Amhas. Both projects came out beautifully, with Ross bringing a very high level of skill and professionalism to the job. Thank you, Ross!

5. Just before Christmas we had a visit from Globe 40 Race Director Manfred Ramspacher, CEO of Sirius Events (www.sirius-events.com). Manfred flew from Paris to Portland to meet with the GS2 and Amhas teams (see photo below). We gave Manfred a tour of both of the boats and then discussed race rules and requirements, before being joined for dinner by our wives and a few friends. I came away grateful for Manfred's effort in making the long journey to see us, and impressed with his leadership, attention to detail and confidence that the race could manage through the Covid minefield around the world in 2022. Thank you, Manfred.

6. Regarding the Globe 40 race calendar, just a brief reminder about the course and stopovers, as we will be visiting some very cool places and I hope many of you might decide to join us along the way. The official race calendar can be found on page 14 of the Notice of Race: www.globe40.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/NOTICE-OF-RACE-GLOBE40-DEC21-GB-1.pdf. In summary, the start of the Prologue Race from Lorient, France to Tangiers, Morocco is June 11, 2022. The start of the race is June 26, 2022 in Tangiers, Morocco. The first leg goes to Sao Vicente in the Cape Verde Islands; Second leg to Mauritius, Indian Ocean; third leg to Auckland, NZ; Fourth leg to Papeete (French Polynesia); Fifth leg to Ushuaia (Cape Horn, Argentina- Christmas/ New Year's), Sixth leg to Recife, Brazil; Seventh leg to Grenada (Caribbean); Eighth leg to the finish at Lorient, France in March 2023. Hope you join us on this journey and feel free to email me if you need more information. ().

So that's about it in early January 2022 from GS2 world.

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