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GS2: Approaching Cape of Good Hope

by Joe Harris, GryphonSolo2 8 Aug 20:19 PDT

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, through the Doldrums, past the equator and into the SE trade winds. However, we still have to get around the Cape of Good Hope, which is our next major routing challenge. Becaduse of the Agulhas Current running East to West (against us) we either have to go close to shore or well south, so we are considering those options now.

A few other bits of action:

- Breaking News- Fleet leader Milai has informed race management and the fleet this morning that they need to divert to Cape Town to fix a problem with their keel. That is a huge bummer for Masa and Andrea who were sailing an incredible leg. I am reminded of my emergency stop in Cape Town around Christmas 2015 during my previous RTW sail. The people of Cape Town could not have been more friendly and helpful, so I hope Masa experiences the same. We all wish them a speedy repair and hope they can catch up with the fleet in Mauritius prior to the start of Leg 3.

- We broke a batten box on the second batten down from the top of the mainsail and it caused the batten to stick out across to the other side of the mast, effectively preventing the sail from being lowered. We thought one of us was going to have to go up the mast to pull the batten out so that we could lower the sail, but after a long battle, we were able to the sail down to repair the broken box. Dodged a bullet there.

- I had a chest cold for about a week that seemed to be getting worse, with congestion and a hacking cough that interrupted sleep. I texted my long-time Primary Care Physician at home, Dr. Bill Medwid, on a Sunday night and he got back to me within two minutes! Bill had helped me put together my entire Medical Kit for the boat including all prescription drugs, so he was able to tell me quickly what I should take for my symptoms. Four days later the problem is gone. Thank you Dr. Medwid, for your rapid response and overall help and support of this trip.

- My co-skipper Roger Junet has turned me on to an internet music channel called "Radio Paradise" that he downloaded hours of fantastic music from. It has provided a most-needed soothing element to many night watches and I would highly recommend it. Talking Heads, Dire Straits, Men at Work, Amy Winehouse to name a few of my faves.

- I finished "The Long Way" by Bernard Moitissier and I have to admit I think he lost it a bit as he decide to not turn left up the Atlantic to return to the start/finish line in Plymouth, England to complete his circumnavigation and likely win the Round the World Race for single-handed yachts, but elected instead to continue sailing past Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin (Australia) and on to Tahiti. He made a kind of "rage against the machine" rant against the destruction of nature and the path of development in the modern world which perhaps typified the sentiments of some in the late 1960's, Anyway, it is a peculiar book and Moitssier quite the sailing savant. I also picked up and buzzed through "Endurance- Shackletons Incredible Voyage" which is another classic. It's an amazing story of survival in the Antarctic and a testament to the human spirit. Highly recommend.

Beyond that, we soldier on in our loose 3 hours on / 3 hours off existence, which seems to work pretty well, except that we generally hang out together in the middle of the day for lunch and projects and do all sail changes and maneuvers together. Like the military, life at sea in a small sailboat is made up of long periods of boredom tinged with anxiety, followed by brief moments of abject terror. I am really hoping that sailing long-distance offshore double-handed on a Class 40 builds character and strengthens the soul. Perhaps like Siddhartha, I will find enlightenment. If not... the joy of exploring new terrain and lifestyles at the stopover ports while over-consuming with family and friends in all respects will have to suffice.

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