Please select your home edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - By Sailors For Sailors 728x90 TOP

GryphonSolo2: Wrap of Globe40 Leg 1

by Joe Harris, GryphonSolo2 7 Jul 18:52 PDT

Sorry it has been a while since my last post. We finished Leg 1 from Lorient, France to Mindelo, Cabo Verde Islands. The leg was about 2,000 NM and took about 9 days and we finished around 1:30 AM on July 5, between two lighthouses against a dark coastline in about 25k of wind.

Picking up where my last post left off, after we got through the narrow passage by Tenerife in the Canary Islands, we turned South and went on a dead downwind run that lasted for the next 6 days.

We avoided the wind shadow beneath Madeira, but elected not to go to the African coast where the routing suggested and four other boats went. After 3 days apart the fleet converged again as we raced to the finish and after Milai finished a day in front of us and Sec Hayai finished after them, the next four boats finished within four hours of each other after 9 days of racing. Pretty amazing. GS2 placed 5th, which was not our hope or expectation, but given the incredibly close finish, we are not too upset. Here are some reflections on the leg:

1. We definitely could have been more aggressive as we sailed on a tight reach from the start and towards Madeira, where we ended up losing a bit of ground. However, we were already experiencing auto-pilot problems and changed from one ram to the other, only to find the second was malfunctioning as well. So we had to hand steer the boat nearly the whole time and had numerous incidents of the pilot simply going off - which it normally never does - sending the boat into a crash tack or gybe, which is a real pain in the ass to get out of, particularly at night when it is easy to get disoriented. The mainsail and jib are backed, the boat is heeled over at an extreme angle and you have to slowly release one thing at a time to get the boat out of irons and going and then pointed in the right direction. It sucked and it must have happened a dozen times as either the pilot failed or Roger or I made a mistake due to exhaustion. We finally replaced one of the rams with an old ram that was slightly leaking hydraulic fluid but it remarkably worked and performed well for the last four days. But we los a lot of time due to the pilot issue.

2. I think we could have sailed more aggressively in terms of the sail plan, but quite honestly I am still in my solo sailor headset where you aim to get the boat going fast, but not out of control. As a solo sailor your top priority is taking care of the boat and yourself, while in double-handed sailing there is much more pressure to load on the sail and push the limits. So I think we had our smaller A6 spinnaker up at times when others had their big A2 kites up and they were going faster, while possibly wiping out from time to time. Maybe somewhere in the middle is philosophically the right place to be but you can be heavily rewarded for pushing the limits and you can also pay the price of trashing a sail or some part of the boat. My mantra is the "you have to finish to win" so am taking the long view, but I definitely feel the pressure to be more aggressive and Roger and I talk over our sail and course choices and decisions frequently.

3. The boat performed well downwind, particularly after we (Roger) made a huge effort to get all the weight out of the bow and stacked everything in the stern. When it was windy we loaded aft water ballast as well which really stabilizes the boat and allows the pilot to steer without wiping out in gusts up to 25k. However, the newer boats are more "bow up"in attitude and I think particularly the Moroccan boat #133 goes very smoothly and easily downwind with less effort. Not much to do about that!

4. We try to keep clean and dry living conditions below so we can get food and rest, but sometimes everything seems wet and the exhaustion is overwhelming. Again I think back to my solo circumnavigation where I would get the boat set up so I could simply monitor it, rather than continue to push it. Double-handed racing requires more energy and aggression, so for 62-year old guys, you have to dig pretty deep to find that extra gear.... at least I do. I have dropped about 20 pounds since I left Maine - partly due to stress and partly due to physical exertion and eating less. This ain't easy. Luckily my co-skipper Roger is a strong, 38-year-old guy who has a high capacity for hard work and is learning this game quickly. And we share the bow work and all the chores, as everything is easier with two guys versus one.

So as I look ahead, I feel good about our prospects and confident we can perform at a higher level. We are working hard here in Cabo Verde to get the boat in top shape for Leg 2 from CV to Mauritius, which is projected to take somewhere around 35 days, 3X Leg 1. Holy Guacamole. My son Griffin is coming for a visit with his pal Owen Ward, so I am looking forward to a few days off of hiking, biking, diving and surfing with the young bucks. It will be great to get my head out of the boat for a while.

So that's the report from Mindelo, Cabo Verde, where it is blowing 25k as it often does. The mountains and lunar landscape here are totally cool and I look forward to doing some exploring.

For more information visit or Facebook page.

Related Articles

The Globe 40 reaches Cape Leeuwin
The 2nd Cape in the Round the World trilogy Yesterday, the Dutch crew on SEC HAYAI, Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt, passed the longitude of Cape Leewin in south-west Australia, a 3,580-mile (6,630 km) sea passage from Mauritius, which took them 16 days and 12 hours. Posted on 30 Sep
GryphonSolo2: Globe40 Leg 3 day 12
The early goal has been to get South into the prevailing Westerly winds We are now on Day 12 of Leg 3 of the Globe40 RTW race going from the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to Auckland, New Zealand. The voyage is somewhere around 7,000 miles in distance and will take between 30 and 35 days. Posted on 24 Sep
GryphonSolo2: Globe40 Leg 3 day 3
The stop in Mauritius was great We are back at sea here on day 3 of Leg 3 of the Globe40 from Mauritius to Auckland, New Zealand. Heading south to find the Westerly winds before turning East to Australia. Posted on 14 Sep
Globe40 Race Leg 3 Start
From the Indian to the Pacific Ocean, another lengthy passage for the fleet Today saw the GLOBE40 crews take the start of the 3rd leg of the event; another substantial leg worth a coefficient 3, which will take the sailors on a journey of nearly 7,000 miles (13,000 km) from Mauritius to New Zealand, depending on the routing. Posted on 11 Sep
GryphonSolo2: Leg 2 complete
We finally made it to Mauritius! A mere 40 days from Cabo Verde. Well... we finally made it to Mauritius! A mere 40 days from Cabo Verde. That was a work-out. About as varied a set of conditions as possible. Posted on 28 Aug
GryphonSolo2: Managing a big gale...
Now under 800 miles to go to the island of Mauritius We hope everyone is enjoying August and hopefully a bit of time off. Here in the Indian ocean, it is "game on"! Once we passed through the Agulhas Current we were truly in the Indian Ocean and turned NE towards our destination, the island of Mauritius. Posted on 22 Aug
Globe40 Race Leg 2 Finish
Amhas takes a Herculean win in Mauritius After 35 days 10 hours 42 minutes and 42 seconds of racing, Craig Horsfield and Oliver Bond aboard Amhas took line honours in Mauritius in this the second and longest leg of the GLOBE40 round the world race. Posted on 22 Aug
GS2: Dodging a Major Gale
Getting through the Agulhas Current Today's update revolves around two events- dodging a major gale and getting through the Agulhas current. Posted on 15 Aug
GS2: Approaching Cape of Good Hope
Big news here on GS2 from the high seas Big news here on GS2 from the high seas is that we passed the halfway point on this epic Leg 2 of the Globe40 a few days ago, which means we have sailed more than 4,000 miles from the Cape Verde Islands over the last 3 weeks Posted on 9 Aug
The halfway point in the Globe40's longest leg
3,600 miles since setting sail - 3,500 miles left to go Today, the front runners in the GLOBE40 round the world yacht race reached the halfway point in this second leg having covered 3,600 miles since setting sail from Cape Verde on Sunday 17 July. Posted on 3 Aug
RS Sailing 2021 - FOOTERNorth Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTERDoyle Sails 2020 - Built for Adventure 728x90 BOTTOM