Gryphon Solo 2  by George Bekris Atlantic Cup

Gryphon Solo 2 by George Bekris Atlantic Cup

 

Time to Beat: 137 Days 20 Hours Set by Chinese Sailor Guo Chuan in 2013

 Newport, Rhode Island – Long time U.S. short-handed sailor, Joe Harris, announced his plans today to attempt to break the non-stop solo Around the World Record for 40-foot monohulls. Harris will make the attempt in his Class 40, GryphonSolo2. The attempt will be made in accordance with the rules of the World Sailing Speed Record Council, who will time the start and finish in Newport, RI. Additionally, a “WSSRC Black Box” will be installed on the boat, the data from which will be used to ratify any claim by GryphonSolo2, that the existing record of 137 days, 20 hours, 01 minute, 57 seconds, set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan in 2013, has been broken.

Joe intends to leave Newport on a favorable weather window at the beginning of November. To qualify for an Around the World record, Joe will sail from Castle Hill Light in Newport, returning to Newport, leaving Antarctica to starboard. The attempt is an approximate distance of 26,700 nautical miles. To beat the current record, Joe will need to average 195 miles per day, or roughly 8.2 knots/hour.

Joe Harris stated, “I have been hoping, planning and dreaming of racing around the world since I was about 20 and now I am 55. I have come dangerously close to doing this twice; first with my Open 50 GryphonSolo in 2008 in the Velux 5 Oceans Race, before it was postponed. I then bought my Class 40 GryphonSolo2 in 2011 with the express purpose of racing solo around the world, but alas, there is no longer a race, as the Global Ocean Race will not run again. So, being ‘all dressed up with nowhere to go’, I have decided to ‘just do it’ and in turn attempt to break the speed record for a 40-foot monohull.

 There is no other sporting event in the world that runs for 137 days, 24 hours day, in which you are the only athlete on the playing field racing against the clock. So this will no doubt be the greatest challenge I have ever faced and I would be lying if I said that the prospect of being alone on the great oceans of the world for four months is not an intimidating thought. It is. But in the end, this will provide me the greatest test that I can imagine. So I look forward to engaging with anyone who would like to follow the record attempt, from the preparation, to the start, to the communication from sea, to my return to Newport in, hopefully, anything less than 137 days.” 

 

Throughout the next five months, Joe will be actively training for his around the world record attempt. In addition to multi-day training sails, Joe will also participate in Block Island Race Week (double-handed Navigators Division), Marblehead-Halifax (double-handed) and the Ida Lewis Distance Race.

 

In preparation of the attempt, GryphonSolo2 has undergone a major refit at Maine Yacht Center including:

  • ·       New auto pilots installed.
  • ·       New solar panels and hydrogenerator installed for offshore energy production
  • ·       Keel and rudders removed, inspected and reinstalled.
  • ·       New set of sails built specifically for the record attempt.
  • ·       Mast completely stripped and re-painted.
  • ·       New Iridium satellite communication system.
  • ·       New computer and navigation system.

 

 

Gryphon Solo 2 by George Bekris 2014

Gryphon Solo 2 by George Bekris 2014

About Joe Harris

Joe grew up sailing on Long Island Sound, being mentored by his father, Woody Harris and his grandfather Hans Rozendaal, both experienced offshore racing sailors.  With 4 trans-Atlantic crossings, 9 Newport-Bermuda races, 5 Marblehead to Halifax races, 5 Bermuda 1-2 races, 3 Atlantic Cups and numerous international miles sailed, Joe has logged over 60,000 offshore ocean miles, while owning 5 boats over a span of 30 years.

After graduating from Brown University in 1981, Joe spent the next seven years as a boat builder in New England during the winters and commercial fisherman in the summers in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Joe sailed offshore frequently in his twenties, racing to Bermuda and delivering boats to and from Europe and the Caribbean, before buying a C&C 40 he named Shiva.  Joe migrated to double-handed sailing aboard Shiva, and ultimately sold Shiva to purchase the Aerodyne 38 Gryphon, which he campaigned aggressively.

In 2004 Joe purchased an all-carbon Finot-Conq designed Open 50 that he named GryphonSolo, which he campaigned in the solo Transat and the Transat Jacques Vabre. In 2011, Joe purchased an Akilaria RC 2 Class 40 named GryphonSolo2 with the intent of racing solo around the world.

Joe is married to his wife Kimberly and they have three children (Griffin- 17, Emmett- 11 and Sophie Grace-8) and live in South Hamilton, MA.  He is involved in real estate investment, development and project management when not sailing.

Career Highlights:
1st – 2014 Atlantic Cup
4th – 2013 Atlantic Cup
3rd – 2012 Atlantic Cup
1st – 2007 Bermuda 1-2 – Overall and set the course record
1st – 2006 Newport-Bermuda – Open Division
1st – 2005 Transat Jaques Vabre (France-Brazil) – Double-handed
2nd – 2004 Transat (Plymouth, UK- Boston, MA) – Single-handed

About GryphonSolo2
GryphonSolo2 is an Akilaria RC2 Class 40. The Akilaria RC2 is the second generation of Class 40s designed by Marc Lombard and built by MC-Tec. She was launched in 2011 in LaTrinite, France.

 

 Thomas Coville sets off for his solo round-the-world record attempt. Brest, 17 January 2014. Photo by  Yvan Zedda-Sodebo

Under a southerly-southwesterly breeze of 15-20 knots and a swell at Ushant, Thomas Coville crossed the start line of his round-the-world solo record attempt this morning at 7h42’44” (French time). To beat the record of 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds, held by Francis Joyon since 2008, the Sodebo maxi- trimaran should be back before March 15th at 21h15’50” (French time).

Being in the right place at the right time. This is the challenge of the start of this round-the-world record attempt, much-expected and desired by the solitary skipper, that has been looming three months for favorable conditions to get out of the Bay of Biscay, swept by successive storms. The skipper was also forced last night to postpone for a few hours his dockout to let pass a new gust of wind which made maneuvering in the port difficult .

Late-night goodbyes
It is at 3:00 in the morning, under the light of an almost full moon, that the trimaran left the port of Château. Meanwhile on the dark dock in Brest, one could see the shadows of some irreducible including Thomas’ wife and their two children, but also the managers of Sodebo that have been supporting the skipper for 15 years. Despite the rain and wind, everybody tried to greet a more determined than ever skipper, very focused on his goal. It didn’t take long for Thomas to head towards Ushant. Three of his teammates helped him hoist the mainsail before switching to a tender off the port of Camaret, located at the exit of the harbor of Brest.

 

Without transition
The first objective of the skipper was to cross the line before the breeze weakened too much off the tip of Brittany. The maxi-trimaran sailed upwind facing a wind of 15-20 knots which is never easy near the coast. After tacking to get clear off Ushant, Thomas will head south on starboard tack to cross the thalweg (area of ​​light breeze) as low as possible in the Bay. He will then, finally, catch westerly-northwesterly downwind conditions. He will be able to accelerate but must remain vigilant because of squalls forecast on his way.

Around the world via the three capes
After the descent of the Atlantic, the record-chasing skipper must pass the Cape of Good Hope (Southern tip of Africa) and Cape Leeuwin (southwestern tip of Australia) and finally the legendary Cape Horn (South America) before returning back to the Atlantic to cross the finish line off Ushant. It’s race against the clock of 21,600 miles considered to be the most demanding of singlehanded sailing. Only Ellen MacArthur, Francis Joyon and Thomas Coville have already completed it nonstop.