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GryphonSolo2 - Steaming along on Leg 5

by Joe Harris, GryphonSolo2 5 Dec 2022 05:32 PST
Looking back at Tahiti from Moorea - GryphonSolo2 © Joe Harris

Time for another scintillating report from the good ship GS2 deep in the South Pacific after a week at sea in Leg 5 of the Globe40 RTW race from Tahiti to Cape Horn.

Senator, we are a long way from anywhere. This is "Point Nemo", where NASA drops used satellites and jet trash. Ain't nuthin' or nobody around for thousands of miles.

But strangely.... I have been here before... in 2015 during my solo circumnavigation when I felt way lonelier, so at least I have four other boats around me now in the event of a disaster.

But let me pick up the tale in Tahiti, before we left, where my co-skipper Roger and girlfriend Hannah and I had a really nice Thanksgiving dinner with the Davis family (Micah, Tenley, Theo, Lula and Hank) and Harris family (Brian and Allison) of Team Amhas fame at a swanky hotel where we feasted on an amazing buffet and watched native Polynesian dancing. A memorable night and good to be with extended family while away from primary family on Thanksgiving. Thank you, Tenley, for organizing.

We then finished up our sail repairs and a huge thanks to Guillaume at Tahiti Sails who repaired our ailing staysail and four other sails expertly. Grocery shopping was aided by our local friend Vaki who drove us all over town to get everything on the list. Many thanks to Vaki and Guillaume.

For the start, we motored quite a distance to get to a scenic location with little wind. We won the start while nosing Sec Hayai out at the committee boat (French Naval vessel) end of the line but then sailed into a wind hole. We then had to choose the southern route between Tahiti and Moorea which was shorter, or the longer route around the north end of Tahiti which had more wind. We chose south and chose wrong and parked up for a bit before admitting our error and humbly following the fleet to the north. Oh well.

We then had three days of upwind sailing and had to negotiate through two days in a high pressure/low wind zone before being freed to the south. We have now been sailing downwind in a strong NW breeze for the last 3 days so life is good.

We have been flying our new turquoise blue A2 spinnaker and our lilac (purple) A3 gennaker and feel like the rainbow coalition! All good onboard with repairs to the hydro-generator, mast lights, sails and watermaker all working very well.

So we are steaming along at 12 knots of boatspeed through a dark night with no moon visible due to clouds. Unfortunately, Roger has been feeling poorly, with a stomach bug that has lingered and caused him to feel crappy and fatigued for the last 3 days. But I think he is feeling a bit better today and hopefully on the mend.

We have about 1,300 miles to go to the "Chile Gate" and then another 1,700 miles to the finish line off Islas Nuevas, just past Cape Horn rock. So hopefully if all goes according to plan, we can finish and sail/motor up the Beagle Channel (70 miles, likely dead upwind) to Ushuia, Argentina and fly home in time for Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Ciao Ciao for now,
Joe and Roger in the South Pacific aboard GS2 12/4/22

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