Please select your home edition
PredictWind - Offshore App 728x90 TOP

GryphonSolo2 finishes the Globe40 around-the-world race

by Joe Harris, GryphonSolo2 17 Mar 2023 20:03 PDT
GryphonSolo2 - The Globe40 © Jean-Marie Liot

As we approach the finish line in the cold rain and pitch-black night of the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France, moving rapidly toward the conclusion of the Globe40 around-the-world race, which began for us in May of last year, I am reflecting on the past ten months. 'Trying' is a word that comes to mind, 'Tumultuous' is another... as is 'Turbulence'... but maybe I just like words that start with a "T"?

I love our little GS2 space module/biosphere, where we make fresh water from salt water, produce electricity from moving through the sea and from the sun, and move across the water only through the power of the wind in our sails. I will miss it for sure, as it is a natural high and feels right just being at sea in this fine craft.

We are loping along at 7k boat speed without our foot on the accelerator for the first time in forever, as we are going to be in 3rd place for this leg no matter what, so we are timing our arrival for daylight and I thought this last night at sea might be a good time to digest and try to make sense of these last 10 months, as Roger did yesterday.

It has been a very long journey through 8 stopover ports, with each one presenting its unique attributes: Lorient France, Tangier Morocco, Mindelo Cape Verde Islands, Port Louis Mauritius, Auckland NZ, Papeete Tahiti, Ushuia Argentina, Recife Brazil, Grenada Caribbean, and now back to Lorient France. What a ride. We left Portland Maine in May 2022 and will finish in France in March 2023, so 11 months at sea and probably 40,000 nautical miles.

I sailed solo around the world in 2015/16 and it was a very different experience. It was a record attempt instead of a race, so I was trying to sail at top speed, but sailing against the clock with no competitors next to me on the race course, I wasn't pushing as hard as we have pushed in this race. I have to say I enjoyed it more. There was less pressure and I could sail the boat the way I wanted to and thought was right, without feeling the need to constantly be in a bigger sail and be pushing the limits.

Maybe that makes me more of a voyageur or even an explorer than a racer at this stage of my sailing career, but if so, I'm OK with that. And I'm OK with 4th place instead of 1st place, because my primary goal in entering the race was to get around the world quickly, but safely, a second time and live to tell the story. Particularly about Cape Horn.

I guess it's all about risk management, to coin a corporate term. Constant risk/reward calculations- if I put up the bigger sail, will I be OK or will I wipe out and perhaps trash that sail and some part of the boat? Will the increased speed warrant the additional risk? In my mind the sail combinations are always driven by whether the autopilot can steer the boat- that is the arbiter, because we are not hand-steering. If the pilot can't handle it, we have to reduce sail. But others seem to push the limits further.

We also have to remember that we are thousands of miles offshore and rescue is highly questionable, so you really have to take care of yourself. All these factors combine for me to take a more measured approach and always think about living.. to fight another day. I think I may have lost that uber-aggressive attitude a 20-something skipper would bring to offshore racing, but did you ever hear the joke about the old bull and the young bull? I view it as a natural evolution. My co-skipper Roger (38) often wants to push the boat a bit harder than me, but when I ask him if he will pay for a new sail if we blow one up, he inevitably declines! I ask him, "Why do I always have to be the adult in the room?", but we just laugh... they're our roles.

Anyway, as we come down the home stretch, it is a bit of a melancholy feeling to know that this adventure will soon be over. I am glad I did it for sure, but I am also glad to move on to the next challenges. Although I do expect there will be a natural letdown and I may find myself at times staring off into the distance the way we do out here all day. I plan to write a book about my life and sailing adventures, so I expect to turn my energies mainly to that, as well as watching my son Emmett (Go Bulls) and daughter Sophie (Go Govs) ball out playing high school lacrosse this spring.

But today- we celebrate. I have that cheesy Lionel Richie song "All Night Long" stuck in my head, "Ooo- oooh yeah, we're gonna have a party... all night long... Oh yeah... all night long... Oh yeah... ". Sing it with me...:)

Related Articles

The Globe40 2025/ 2026 presents its first entries
Ten crews have already taken the first important step of officially filing their entries Around ten crews have already taken the first important step of officially filing their entries for the second edition. Posted on 18 Jan
Réunion Island new destination for GLOBE40 2025/26
Playing host to the event's competitors in Pointe des Galets Marina Réunion Island is the new Indian Ocean destination for the 2nd edition of the GLOBE40. Indeed, in November 2025, the urban area of Territoire de L'Ouest will play host to the event's competitors in Pointe des Galets Marina. Posted on 13 Oct 2023
Lorient central to Globe40 second edition
A new planetary adventure to share with the Lorient Agglomération After playing host to the debut edition of the GLOBE40 in the form of a prologue in June 2022 and the race finish in March 2023, Lorient Agglomération is renewing its allegiance to the event in the same format for the second edition in 2025/ 2026. Posted on 1 Sep 2023
Globe40 - Episode 5 - Papeete, French Polynesia
Papeete, French Polynesia "Last but not least" the long-awaited subject 26' - French Polynesia in the GLOBE40's round-the-world saga Posted on 3 Jul 2023
GS2 Globe40 Epilogue
GryphonSolo2 sold in France after finishing the Globe40 I am writing this note from the comfort of my home office, with the heel angle at zero, the temperature at 70-degrees, no waves crashing over the house, and a kitchen and bathroom close by. Posted on 20 May 2023
Second Globe40 scheduled for 2025-26
Pre-Notice of Race published today The first round the world race with stopovers created by a French organiser, the GLOBE40 proved to be an extremely demanding competition and an extraordinary human adventure. Posted on 2 May 2023
The Globe40 Film
Nine months of competition, 35,000 nautical miles sailed around the planet Nine months of competition, 8 unprecedented stopovers, 25 competing skippers, 35,000 nautical miles sailed around the planet... the Globe40 film is online! Posted on 6 Apr 2023
Gryphon Solo2 finishes the Globe40
The end of the great adventure around the planet The American competitor Gryphon Solo 2 crossed the Globe40 finish line today in front of Lorient at 07:53 UTC. In 3rd position on this leg Joe Harris and Roger Junet finished this first edition of the Globe40 in 4th place. Posted on 17 Mar 2023
GryphonSolo2: Globe40 Leg 8 update
Update from Roger Junet! Roger Junet shares an update on how he is feeling and his reflections on the Globe40 & GS2 Posted on 16 Mar 2023
SEC HAYAI takes outright victory in the GLOBE40
The Dutch crew of Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt finish off Lorient, Brittany Off Lorient, Brittany, the Dutch crew on SEC HAYAI made up of Frans Budel and Ysbrand Endt, crossed the finish line of the 8th and final leg of the GLOBE40 at 19:41 UTC this Wednesday. Posted on 16 Mar 2023
J Composites 2022 - J45 v4 FOOTERVaikobi 2024 Sale - FOOTER2024 fill-in (bottom)