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A Sigh Of Relief For Gryphon Solo Crew


  • A Sigh Of Relief For Gryphon Solo Crew

    Hello Friends-

    I am writing to report that Joe, Roger and GS2 made it around the infamous Cape Horn on December 18, 2022 (see photos below). I have been thinking about this for a very long time, really since I went around Cape Horn the first time in March 2016. That was a very rough and difficult passage, with winds and seas in excess of 60k/feet, and I was forced to round outside Diego Ramirez Island and could not get near Cape Horn rock for the classic photos. This time, we did get pummeled on the approach to the Horn, with frequent squalls with gusts to 45k, but consistent winds of about 25k and seas of about 20', so much more civilized. We were able to sail right up to Cape Horn Rock and truly appreciate its glory as the southern-most landmark for mariners circumnavigating to pass around. Many a sailor has been lost off Cape Horn.

    The first solo sailor to make it around was the Argentine Vito Dumas, who sailed around the world by way of the three great Capes in 1942-43 (see photo below of the statue of Dumas in Ushuia). The other remarkable thing about rounding the Cape was that the wind and sea conditions came down to a very mellow level, as if a curtain had fallen and we were suddenly sailing in a lake somewhere. We could see the squalls and rain going by us to the West as we sailed serenely up towards the finish line off Islas Nuevas. The wind went light for a while, but then filled in out of the NE and we crossed the line about 3:00AM local time to take 4th place in the race. We then motor-sailed up the Beagle Channel, a distance of about 70 miles, in ever-decreasing winds until it was very light as we came into Ushuia.

    I don't know what happened to me, but my emotions just completely overtook me as we came to the dock and tied up and all our fellow competitors were there to greet us and I was just crying like a baby. I was just overwhelmed with relief, that I had finally accomplished a goal I had been chasing and angsting about for years. All that pressure just seemed to lift off my shoulders and I just broke down. Oh well, I guess I'm in touch with my emotions? I mean, I'm crying right now just writing about it.

    Anyway, I wish I could bottle these very intense feelings of relief and satisfaction, as I would like to feel this way the rest of my life. It has been a pleasure to get the boat cleaned up, spend time with friends and see Ushuia "The Gateway to the Antarctic". It is quite a bustling port, with many smaller cruise ships coming and going to the Antarctic, which I think would be a really cool thing to do. I'm talking white tablecloth, warm cabins with nice beds, guided trips to the icebergs, experts to tell you about everything. Yeah, I think that would be pretty nice!

    So, my co-skipper Roger Junet and friend/Globe40 competitor Brian Harris will depart tomorrow to fly home for Christmas.

    Wishing all friends and family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will fly back down to Ushuia on Jan. 3 and the start of Leg 6 to Recife, Brazil is Jan. 8.


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