Ryan Finn and Jzerro, his 36-ft proa, left New York on January 12 bound for San Francisco on their second attempt at a solo record for the Gold Route.
Finn had to abandon his first try in 2021 when Jzerro started to delaminate while bouncing around entering the Gulf Stream off Maryland. The Gold Route started when shipping from the East Coast to San Francisco heated up during the Gold Rush in the 1850s. Most of the record runs were done on fully crewed boats. Only two so far have attempted a solo journey, Philippe Monnet in 1989 on a Shuttleworth-designed trimaran, and Ryan Finn. Monnet’s was not nonstop because he hit ice, yet he still managed to complete the journey in 81 days. Ryan is trying to make it in 70 days. Now he’s in the middle of the Atlantic heading toward Cape Horn as quickly as possible.
Earlier in the trip, Ryan remarked, “Jzerro is lighter than I’ve ever had her for an offshore trip. I’ve ticked off three boxes so far: Leave Sheepshead Bay in one piece, cross the Gulf Stream, and get past Bermuda before another front arrives.” But now his progress is slowing as the wind shuts down. “Light wind throughout the morning then building after lunch.” And they’ll have an upwind battle on the way south. “I will essentially have wind forward of the beam for the next 1,000-plus miles. I’d love to ease the sheets, but that may have to wait until Brazil.” Taking on one of world’s hardest routes was more than a challenge for even big-crewed boats. Trying it solo on a small craft takes it to another level.