Joe Harris and his British co-skipper Josh Hall have won the Open 50 division of the Transat Jacques Vabre

Joe Harris and his British co-skipper Josh Hall aboard Gryphon Solo crossed the finish line in Salvador de Bahia last night to win the Open 50 division of the Transat Jacques Vabre. At the time of crossing the winning duo were over 200 miles ahead of second place Artforms and third place Vedettes de Brehat, and over 800 miles ahead of fourth place Top 50 Guadeloupe.

Chatting after the finish, having spent 19 days, 9 hours 5 minutes and 45 seconds at sea, Harris commented: “I can’t describe how gratifying this win is after a long two years of coming in second to Artforms. In the Transat race last summer, a 3,000-mile bash to windward, AF clearly held an upwind advantage over GS and I addressed this deficiency this winter by designing and installing new daggerboards. In the TJV, the boats faced a wide variety of conditions with a lot of heavy air downwind sailing and GS really showed her form. The eight year old Finot-designed, JMV-built French red rocket proved that the old stallion still has her legs!

“Sailing with Josh Hall as my co-skipper has been great in that we have been able to push the boat a lot harder than I normally would as a single-hander and Josh’s emphasis on hand steering and always seeking maximum performance has propelled the GS campaign to a higher level. One really couldn’t ask for a better shipmate than Josh.”

The battle is now on for second place with Kip Stone and Merf Owen on the Open 50 Artforms currently battling it out with Servane Escoffier and Bertrand de Broc in Vedettes de Bréhat. The race up the finish line in Bahia is so close that in this morning’s ranking just eight miles separate the two boats And with 26.5 miles to go until the finish, at an average boat speed of around 10 knots (translates to approx two hours sailing) this should be enough for Artforms to keep Vedettes de Bréhat from sneaking ahead.