Gryphon Solo 2: sailing solo, with two

Apparently Joe  Harris was not fully briefed on the presence on the North Atlantic of, would you believe another sailor in a Class 40 making an attempt on the 137 day record Gryphon Solo 2 is working on.

This report and challenge arrived from Gryphon Solo 2 earlier today. This is a cut and paste in italics

BEGIN

Joe aboard GS2- 28’21 N X 56′ 14 W on 11/20/15
Hello folks-

Today I became aware of a new competitor out here on the great Atlantic race course and that is a gentleman named Henrik Masekowitz. Henrik is from Germany and is attempting to break the same record as I am- 137 days around the world, solo, non-stop, unassisted for a monohull boat 40′ or less. Henrik started from France two days before I did and is sailing a Class 40 Akilaria RC 1 named “Croix du Sud”, whereas as I am sailing an Akilaria RC2. Both boats were designed by naval architect Marc Lombard in France and built in Tunisia by MC-Tech- Henrik’s in 2007 and GS2 in 2011. Pretty darn similar boats. I believe Henrik’s web site is:http://www.soloceans.de and he is also on YB tracker at

http://yb.tl/hmsailing

(Cooper inserts YB tracker for HM-my comments at end)

Yellow Brick tracking position for Henrik Masekowitz, Croix du Sud, at 0500z Sat 21-11-15

Yellow Brick tracking position for Henrik Masekowitz, Croix du Sud, at 0500z Sat 21-11-15

So it is “Game On” sports fans… we have a race on our hands, which is I think is what both Henrik and I were hoping for in both originally trying to do the Global Ocean Race, which is no longer happening.

So here we are- completely unexpectedly- joined on the race course around the world- but he coming from France and me coming from Newport. I think the mileages are pretty similar and we will meet up at the equator and then sail the same course around the bottom of the globe- leaving the five great capes to port and Antarctica to starboard- and ultimately around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America and then back up to the equator and then splitting paths, with Henrik back to France and me to Newport.

Henrik's weather for 0900z on Sat.

Henrik’s weather for 0900z on Sat.

Wx chart from Passage Weather for Henrik’s area for 0900z Sat. 221-11-15. Henrik is at 33 degrees 46 mins north and 16 degrees 21 minutes west.

Henrik’s record attempt is also being reviewed by the World Speed Sailing Records Council in England as my attempt is. It’s quite ironic, isn’t it?

Upon reflection, I do think it’s pretty cool… as long as I win smile emoticon However, if I break the old record but lose to Henrik, that could potentially suck… but let’s not go there girlfriend.

AND:

Henrik 1200z Sat

The Wx chart from Passage Weather for Henrik’s area for 1200z Sat. 221-11-15

I know for a fact that this will sharpen my competitive instincts and cause me to push even harder, while remembering that you can’t win unless you finish safely.

So, Henrik- I wish you safe and fast passage… just not too fast pal… and for the first leg… I’ll wager you a bottle of fine French champagne I get to the Equator first- even with your two-day head start!

Best to all-

ENDS:

Henrik is, as of 0400 Saturday, 21-11-15 about 60 miles north of Maderia in modest trades making 7 knots. In 2 hours he will have been going for 8 days . His DMG from last Friday at 0600z to present is on the order of 1100 miles. Based on eight days, his average speed has been around 5.7 Kts.

Next up, the two maxi tris on standby for a shot at the Jules Vern Trophy. That is apart from the boats returning from the TYJV and the Mini Transat…(well those not going by ship anyway). Sheesh going to need a traffic cop out there pretty soon.

Cheers

Coop

 

 

 

Solo sailing, with two

Solo circumnavigations in a crowded Atlantic

The are perhaps a couple of hundred people following Joe Harris aboard Gryphon Solo 2 after his departure from Newport last week outbound on his circumnavigation. For those of us watching Joe sail off towards the sparking blue, distant S.E. horizon on Sunday it is unlikely anyone was thinking that the North Atlantic could, in late November, be a somewhat crowded place. Relatively speaking.

Joe Harris "started" and underway, next stop, Newport RI.

I discovered a few days later via a comment on Scuttlebutt (small world eh?) that there is in fact a German fellow outbound, presently off Portugal attempting precisely the same voyage. What do you think would be the odds of two guys taking off within 27 hours of each other in the same (class of) boats on a solo, non-stop circumnavigation via The Great Capes? Slim would be an understatement I reckon.

A Yellow Brick Tracker screen  shot of Gryphon Solo 2's position taken at 1915 EST Wednesday Nov 15.

A Yellow Brick Tracker screen shot of Gryphon Solo 2’s position taken at 1915 EST Wednesday Nov 18.

Based on my very rough interpretation of a piece on a Yacht magazine, in Germany, one Henrik Masekowitz, a 49 year old German, departed at 0600 GMT on Friday 13 (yup) November, crossing a “starting line” between The Lizard and le d’Ouessant, at the SW corner of Brittany. This historic transit is the favored start/finish line for all manner of circumnavigations, in particular those of the French maxi multihulls engaging on the same voyage, commonly the Trophy Jules Verne. Henrik’s avowed plan is, like Joe Harris’s an attempt on the present 137 day’s and change record for 40 footers..

Masekowitz seems to be lacking his own web site although he has a face book page that connects back to Yacht magazine. His Linkedin page shows him as having since 2000 moved on from being a freelance IT computer guy to professional sailor . This might be the mid-life crisis more of us wished we had acted on…… In the intervening years he sailed in two Mini Transats-2007 and 2013 and the British based Azores and back, aka, AZAB.

Screen shot taken at 1930 EST of Henrik Masekowitz's position. The date on the tracker indicates that it is about 25 minutes old, now.

Screen shot taken at 1930 EST of Henrik Masekowitz’s position. The date on the tracker indicates that it is about 25 minutes old at 1930 EST

The boat of choice for HIS circumnavigation is a first generation Akilaria. Henrik’s Akilaria is of the same class & make of boat that the Chinese sailor Guo Chuan used to establish the present record (137 days and change) in 2013. Akilaria is also the builder of the boat under Joe Harris although Gryphon Solo 2 is the Mk.2 version. Masekowitz’s boat “Croix du Sud” is number 64 (Vs. #106 for Joe) built in 2008.

A third Akilaria has made this voyage albeit double handed with stops. Italian Marco Nannini circumnavigated in the Global Ocean Race in 2011/12

The North Atlantic has indeed been an even more crowded place in the past month or so. Excluding the “run of the mill” vessels making the voyage from Europe to the Caribbean and beyond, there have been two major short-handed races, both of which are just wrapping up. (And just think, a Trans-Atlantic passage used to be such an achievement too…Think Sopranino….)

Screen shot of the Class 40 tracking as they close in on the finish of the Transat Jacque Vabre

Screen shot of the Class 40 fleet tracking as they close in on the finish of the Transat Jacque Vabre.

The Transat Jacque Vabre, a double-handed race from Le Harve, France to Itajai in Brazil, over a course of some 5500 miles is close to being complete. FOURTY boats were entered including: 20 IMOCA 60’s and in what must be a record rate of attrition, 11 abandoned the race, 4 fifty foot multihulls plus two of the Maxi tris., and 14 Class 40’s. The tail-enders of whom are still 1800 miles out.

Metaphorically speaking there has been a crossing the “T” of the TJV (a north-south race) by the Mini Transat, sailing east to west. The Mini Class chose to stay in the Northern Hemisphere for this year’s event and so the Mini 650’s are flooding into Guadeloupe having sailed across the mid-latitudes from the Canaries starting 18 days ago.

The remains of the Mini Transat fleet heading for the finish at Guadeloupe, ideally in time for the party….

The remains of the Mini Transat fleet, largely the production “series” boats heading for the finish at Guadeloupe, ideally in time for the party….

Not to be left out of a nice mid-fall lap of the planet are two Maxi Trimarians, Spindrift 2 and IDEC Sport.

Maxi Trimarian Spindrift 2 in Newport preparing for an attempt on the West to East Trans-Atlantic record in 2014

Maxi Trimarian Spindrift 2 in Newport preparing for an attempt on the West to East Trans-Atlantic record in 2014. They were very gracious in hosting members of the Prout School Sailing Team

These two behemoths are in the starting blocks in Brest warming up for a departure, possibly this weekend, for the latest crack at winning the Trophy Jules Verne. The current record is 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds established in fact by Spindrift 2 sailing as Groupama under the command of French sailing legend, Loick Peyron. This pace indicates then that one or the other or perhaps even both monster tri’s are going to have to sail around the world averaging over 20 knots. It is rather intimidating to consider that if these guys and one woman depart in the next day or so they may well be back for New Years Eve celebrations. Think about THAT for a minute.

This is a tad more then the 8.0 kts. Joe and Henrik need to average for them to claim the new record for the 40 foot class.

Spindrift traking page showing her in Brest with the engine ticking over waiing for othe green light….

Spindrift tracking page showing her in Brest with the engine ticking over waiting for the green light….

Screen shot of the tracking page for IDEC and Francis Joyon

And a screen shot of the tracking page for IDEC and Francis Joyon, showing them also on stand by in Brest. The blue boat is Loic Peyrons boat, as a reference I think. This traking seervicec can show the tracks of both boats so you can easily tell who is ahead.

Lastly, one hope’s that the tri’s, and probably the 40’s too, do not simply run over Bristol RI sailor Donna Lange as she, comparatively speaking, crawls along in her Southern Cross 28.  And while not exacly in the North Atlantic rignt now, she was  a bit earlier on in the season. Her position, on Tuesday 17 November in the middle of the Indian Ocean at 41 30’s x 68.00e.

For those of us who grew up watching long distance offshore solo sailing, all this is somewhat mind boggling. Reading about the exploits of the pioneers of the genre  is a more accurate statement. At very long intervals their reports wafted in from static laden short wave conversations and were molded into newspaper stories devoured by the lilkes of the 12,13,14 year old me. Those stories of especially of Sir Robin Knox Johnson, Sir Francis Chichester and the rest of the pioneering solo circumnavigators were the stories of my youth and have shaped my own seamanship. These men might well be impressed: Ms. Lange is on her second lap in a “small boat”.

One last thought: Ms. Lange is one of ony 4 sailors from the US in this entire squadron of solo or otherewise remakable sailors and boats out sailing on the waters of the world.

She is joined by: Joe Harris, Andy Able, sailing a mini and Ryan Breyaimer who had to abandon the TJV.

Regardless, Bon Courage all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation for solo sailing offshore

Just because you are sailing “alone” does not mean there is not a team behind you. Even if it is sailing across the bay…There is the yard, perhaps your S.O., mechanically or electronically inclined mates-we all have our Rolodex of favourite helpers who are “there” for us even if not aboard.

Rob Windsor, left and Hugh Piggin applying the logo for CBL insurance  of NZL to Joe Harris's mainsail.

Rob Windsor, left and Hugh Piggin applying the logo for CBL insurance of NZL to Joe Harris’s mainsail.

Witness, Joe Harris, preparing for a non-stop circumnavigation on his Class 40 Gryphon Solo 2-(with an ETD of This Sunday 15 November 0900 at Castle Hill in Newport RI, if you are up for it) gained a new sponsor this week. CBL Insurance New Zealand (where else for sailing of course?) is according to their website, “…… the largest and oldest provider of credit surety and financial risk in New Zealand.”

CBLK insurance NZL logo going onto Joe Harris's mainsail

CBLK insurance NZL logo going onto Joe Harris’s mainsail

Of course this happend “just in time” meaning this week. As with sailing, solo sailing and of course life, one must be ready to expect the unexpected & take advantage of opportunities. So this (Saturday) morning about 0700 I had a call from Hugh Piggin, (on the right) one half of Manuka SEM, the organizers of, amongst other events, the Atlantic Cup for Class 40’s and supporters of Joe’s voyage, looking to get into the Hood Loft in Middletown. He and Rob Windsor, (on the left) the boat manager for Joe needed to lay out the mainsail to get the CBL Insurance logo on the sail.

Last minute Logo layout.

Last minute Logo layout.

So, inside of 24 hours to go with the boat all buttoned up for a lap of the Blue Marble, we find our two heros at the Newport Shipyard removing the mainsail, lashing it to the racks on the borrowed Shipyard pick-up truck, driving the two miles up to the Hood loft , laying the sail out on the loft floor, sticking the CBL logos on and reversing the process. Good goin’ guys and thanks to the CBL guys on Joe’s behalf.

With logo's as with sails, measure twice, cut, or in this case, stick, once.

With logo’s as with sails, measure twice, cut, or in this case, stick, once.

 

IMG_0159

Updates on Gryphon Solo 2’s attempt at beating the present circunmavigation time for a 40 footer of 137 days will be presented here along with my two cents worth of interpretation.

Cheers

C

Safety at Sea seminar

On Saturday 07 Feb 2015 at the Safety at Sea seminar, produced by LandfallNavigation, I will be presenting a section on sails & sail fibers. This nearshore Safety at Sea seminar is being held at the Mystic Seaport in Ct. from 0800-1630

The following is a table of the basic properties, sailmakers are interested in, of the fibers currently used in making sails. In an earlier day, this information would be distributed at the event, but today, well it is here.

The information is from the North Sails website attributed to research by their cloth people

Polyester (Dacron)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
80 – 120 5 – 8 6 mo. 0% $2 Racing & Cruising Sailing
Pros: Tough, durable, inexpensive, many weights and finishes.
Cons: Relatively stretchy compared to aramids.
PEN (Pentex)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
250 10 5 mo. 5% $7 Club Racers & Cruisers
Pros: Fits between Polyester and Aramid in performance and cost.
Cons: Cannot be woven tightly, best used in laminates.
Kevlar 29 Twaron SM
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
600 23 3 mo. 25% $15 Regatta Racing Sails
Pros: Light weight, low stretch.
Cons: Low flex and UV resistance.
Kevlar 49 Twaron HM
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
940 24 3 mo. 28% $18+ Grand Prix Racing Sails
Pros: Light weight, very low stretch.
Cons: Low flex and UV resistance. Expensive.
Carbon
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
1200 – 2500 20 – 40 No effect 30 – 100% $15 – $100 Grand Prix Racing Sails
Pros: Very light, extremely low stretch, good UV resistance.
Cons: Brittle, low flex resistance.
PBO (Zylon)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
1600 36 1.5 mo. 30% $60 Grand Prix Racing Sails
Pros: Extremely low stretch and light weight.
Cons: Low flex and very low UV resistance. Expensive.
Spectra / Dyneema
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
1100 34 7 mo. No effect $25 – $35 Premium Cruisers
Pros: Very strong and durable.
Cons: Creep limits racing applications.
LCP (Vectran)
Modulus (gr/denier) Tenacity (gr/denier) UV Resist. (mo. to 50% strength loss) Flex Loss (% in std. test) Cost ($/lb.) Uses
580 28 1.5 mo. No effect without UV $25 Premium Cruisers
Pros: Good flex when protected for UV.
Cons: Requires complete UV protections.
Modulus: Stretch resistance per weight. Higher is better for upwind sails.
Tenacity: Breaking strength per weight. Higher is better for sails.
UV Resistance: Strength loss in a standardized exposure test.
Flex Loss: Percent breaking strength lost in an industry standard 50 fold test.

D.I.Y boat building

The Mini Diaries, 06 JAN 2015

Do-it-yourself boatbuilding is both very satisfying and often the only way one can realize one’s dreams of having a particular boat. This series of essays/blog posts discuss the home building of my boat, a Mini Transat 650. Well it was not actually built in “a home” but largely by me in a variety of locations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Is. and Massachusetts. The boat is a pretty specialized boat, built for single-handed racing, across the Atlantic. How I got involved in that is outlined here.

This group of blog posts, The Mini Diaries, starts in October 2014 in Durham NH, at the home of a mate of mine a fellow sailor, home builder par excellence and a fantastic woodworking craftsman, Vince Todd. My Mini had been parked on his property for while and I finally got to the point where I could re-start work on the refit I started a few years ago.

"The Mini" on her trailer in Vince's Bush Boat Yard. The paint jobs will be discussed later. Emmett's (Vince's son) J-24 next to me.

“The Mini” on her trailer in Vince’s Bush Boat Yard. The paint job will be discussed later. Emmett’s (Vince’s son) J-24 is next to me.

The scene: a sunny day in Durham NH. The first item on the work list is to finish rebuilding the cockpit. Again why this is so will be addressed later on. In order to start on this decent sized fabrication Vince put the boat in a plastic hoop shed, described below, on his property. I refer to this venue as Vince’s Bush Boat Yard because he has his own family yacht, an early 1960’s Ted Hood Robin, a 37’ wooden, centerboard yawl that Vince has restored to better than new. There is his son’s J-24, an Alden motor launch Vince is doing some re-build work on, a skiff under construction in the basement of Vince’s office and various assorted ribs, small sailing boats and dinghies.

The Good Yacht Thora, largely rebuilt at Home by Vince

The Good Yacht Thora, largely rebuilt at home by Vince

 

Inside the hoop shed, even with the temp at 35-40 degrees outside, it is 55 plus on a sunny day. Parallel to this is my involvement with the organization of Block Island Race Week, a prominent regatta in the NE of the US. The event chairman is an old shipmate of mine, one Peter Rugg. He and I have done lots of miles together double hand on his J-105, Jaded that was destroyed and written off by the insurance co. Thus Peter is boat-less in the face of the forthcoming Race Week. In conversation one day Peter remarked that we ought to sail my mini in the DH class at Block Island. Motivation is a wonderful thing and Peter’s remarks gave mine a wonderful swing upwards.

Bushranger inside the hoop shed at Vince's Bush Boat Yard.

Bushranger inside the hoop shed at Vince’s Bush Boat Yard. Test fit of the new cockpit/deck sides

After some discussion in the entire caper with Vince and figuring on the entirety of the Caper, I/we decided it would be prudent to have the boat closer to Newport, where I live, than Durham NH, a 3-hour drive (each way). So first off we discussed the fabrication of a hoop shed to be erected on the grounds of the Newport Shipyard, in of course Newport. The Shipyard is much closer, just 2.8 miles from my house and in the center of one of the bright-stars in the world’s boat building galaxy, Newport.

Vince and I discussed the basics of the shed, sizes materials costs, time required to fabricate transportation erection for starters. A couple of days later I drafted out on square paper a sketch of the shed, took a few pictures of it with my phone and sent them to Vince as a double check and we agreed we were are basically on track.

My design of a hoop shed. Turned out to be a pretty close sketch of what was built.

My design of a hoop shed. Turned out to be a pretty close sketch of what was built.

Shortly thereafter we assembled at Vince’s Bush Boat Yard to fabricate hoops.

More to come…..Coop