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September 2022

GryphonSolo2: Threading the needle

by Joe Harris, GryphonSolo2 30 Jun 15:49 BST

I am coming to you live from the Canary Islands, just off the European coast, where we will soon be attempting to thread the needle through a very narrow passage between the islands of Tenerife and Canarias. I'm not sure who thought this was a good idea but leaving the island of Tenerife to starboard would be fine if there wasn't a Traffic Separation zone that you are not allowed to go in and also a serious wind funnel effect created by the height of the mountains that can cause gusts to 35 knots. So the narrow passage with little room to maneuver will present its challenges tonight as we are currently about 25 miles away.

Meanwhile, we have been experiencing serious problems with our auto-pilot rams, which has caused the pilot to simply turn off without warning and has caused numerous accidental tacks and gybes that take a while to straighten out, particularly at night. So we have been forced to hand steer all the time, which is not only exhausting but does not allow you to sail the boat very well. Sucks. But as of this morning, Roger replaced one of the rams with a spare that had been leaking, but now seems to be working. So fingers crossed it stays working until we get to Cabo Verde.

So a few random observations. You know how you can get a song stuck in your head and it just plays here over and over? Here are the songs stuck on play for me:

Scarlett Begonias - Grateful Dead, "She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes... and I knew without asking she was into the blues..."

Good Hearted Woman- Willie Nelson, "She;s a good hearted woman in love with a good timing man. She loves him in spite of his wicked ways, that she don't understand."

Today I'm not doing anything- Bruno Mars, "I'm just gonna lay in my bed. So leave a message on my phone cuz today I'm not doing anything. Nuthing at all."

The last one is not too inspirational for a double-handed skipper trying to put out a lot of fires, but what can I say- its stuck.

Lastly, I think my next boat might be named "Bust a Move"... feel free to comment.

As many of you know, I am a fan of freeze-dried food. Many people complain about it but I ain't one of them. So last night I had Buffalo Style Chicken with spicy Mac and Cheese which was excellent. But this morning I noticed it came out of me in nearly the same form it went in. Hmmmmmm... was it digested? I know, that's disgusting, but since we go in a bucket, it's easy to analyze. I'm like Bill Nye the Science Guy - always asking questions.

So that's it from Tenerife, Canary Islands. Wish us Godspeed tonight to get through this narrow channel and launched towards Cabo Verde and the last phase of the race to the finish. And may Santa bring us a new autopilot ram.

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