Day 7 Race Report

Posted on June 16, 2014 in Battleborn, Boatylicious, CC4 Pacific, Clearly Contacts - Row the Pacific, Elsa Hammond, Fat Chance, General, Great Pacific Race 2014, Jim Bauer’s Row for Hope, NOMAN, Pacific Warriors, Project Flight Plan, Rowing 4 Reefs, Team Pacific Rowers, Uniting Nations

WEATHER: For lead boats wind is 15-20kt out of the NNW.
For those towards the back of the fleet the wind is 20-25 out of the NW.

It has been a week since the first wave of rowers have taken to the Pacific to row to Hawaii. The message received from them has been that they have faced big seas, strong winds and trying conditions. They have dealt with sea sickness, broken equipment and crafted innovative repairs. Now that they are getting into the groove of being at sea and have a better understanding of what life is like while rowing an ocean, we are receiving more and longer updates from the crews.

Solo racer Elsa Hammond /Elsa Hammond’s Pacific Solo Row posted her first blog report. In it, she writes:

“I was meaning to write a longer message and blog,  but writing is still making me feel sick, so putting it off for a few more days.”

Hammond reports that she has seen dolphins, humpback whales, a shark (fortunately from a distance), and albatrosses. “Amazing” she writes. “Whales are so big!”

Hammond’s course continues westward. Each night she sets her sea anchor after having to get in her rudder, tie it down, deploy the sea anchor, but the process is getting easier with each passing night. She also writes that she is “ feeling challenged by weather, but always knew first weeks would be especially hard. I look forward to rowing with the wind at some point, rather than against it. Big waves are both terrifying and exciting – like a theme park with no rules and no other people.”

Race Director Chris Martin spoke with Hammond this morning and continues to be impressed with the progress she is making to the west. She mentioned that it was particularly nice to see the Great Pacific Race support boat Cloud Nine pay her a visit. She had seen other boats while rowing, but it was a special feeling knowing that this particular boat was out there watching over her. After the support boat had continued on it’s protective journey, Hammond posted this note:

“I’m the only person I can see in every single direction – a completely clear horizon!”

Our pairs and fours have others to talk to for company. For our French cousins onboard CC4 Pacific, these last three days have been “very grueling for our adventurers. The Stork is dancing on the waves again since this morning and these difficult conditions of sailing made it hard to maintain a good hygiene especially because the cabin is full of humidity.” Their shore team found it unbelievable that the crew had not yet started to eat their “saucisson.” Perhaps it wasn’t combining well with their French wine.

At the front of the pack, the messages from Battleborn are that they have faced sea sickness as well as their fair share of on-board repairs. Crew members Philip Cavanaugh and Barry Hayes contributed to their second blog post in which they reported they have managed to snap one oar, break the steering foot plate, break a seat, break the daggerboard, snap a scupper plate, lose the jet boil top and one of their micro-plastic testing vessels to the mighty Pacific “via a variety of exciting, but increasingly irritating waves.” A vertical wave rendered their dagger board useless. The innovative team used one of the spare oars as a replacement. Morale is high on board Battleborn according to Hayes, despite the few broken bits. He writes:

“When something breaks, it’s disappointing but then when we’re able to fix it, (and we’ve fixed everything so far), it’s rewarding and gives us a boost. Positivity in the face of adversity is big out here, I think we have all learned valuable lessons so far.”

In this race to the trades for our leaders, Battleborn, who are 58 NM behind Uniting Nations (as of the Noon report) are trying to head west but the wind and waves are proving a problem. Battleborn is still being pushed further south. The task for them is to head west and find the elusive trade winds. The team has been “surfing down waves as big as houses and enjoying the exciting if sometimes frightening ride.” It sounds as though they are in the same theme park as Hammond.

As for the day to day life on board, Cavanaugh wrote this of his adventure:

“It sounds easy, but try getting up for your second pitch black night shift, putting on the same wet gear (there’s nowhere for it to dry out here, who’d have known?!) and going out with nothing but a head torch and your iPod, which usually has six per cent battery. These are the days you question your sanity.”

The Pacific Warriors are working on identifying sea life. In the first few days they spotted an Orca, and have now reported spotting grey whales. As with the other messages received from the crews, the seas are big for the Pacific Warriors.

The message has been received by our crews still ashore that there are big seas, waves like houses and buildings, and rough wet conditions in this theme park known as the Pacific Ocean. These crews still on shore have their tickets and are getting ready for their ride.

On Wednesday, June 18 at 0600 the remaining teams participating in the Great Pacific Race will start their rows. The early departure for these teams should allow them time to row out past Point Pinos and clear the Monterey Bay during the daylight hours.

In making their final preparations, Fat Chance Row has been spending some time at sea to get used to the conditions. When heading out for an overnight row, Sami Inkinen posted that the seas may have looked calm “but 20knot winds and breaking waves this am. Scary moments – check!”

Other teams are getting training on deploying their drogues and para-anchors, and doing their final packing on the boats. Team Boatylicious and Pacific Rowers are trying to make everything fit. For the girls of Boatylicious, snack packs have become their mattress and they will be resting their heads on packs of freeze dried food and wet wipes.

As this second wave of teams prepare to depart, the messages from those already out there have taught them valuable lessons. They understand a little better about the conditions they will face, and more and more calls are being heard to family and friends requesting texts of support while they are at sea.

Just as the messages from the crews rowing have been heard, they also hear and appreciate the messages of support from those us of on land. Keep those positive words of inspiration coming and support all the crews rowing across the mighty Pacific. As Elsa Hammond wrote in her blog, “Please pass on my thanks for lovely messages – apologies I’m not replying but they mean a lot.” And from CC4 Pacific “Thank you for your messages, you’re also part of the team.”

Barry Hayes of Team Battleborn posted this note regarding spending Father’s Day at sea:

“June 15th, Father’s Day in the UK [and the USA], so we couldn’t help but turn our thoughts to our families. We’re sure they’re proud of what we are doing and despite enjoying the adventure very much, we cannot wait to get back to our loved ones.”

Barry – we couldn’t have said it better. Happy Father’s Day from the Great Pacific Race.

Solo Racers:
Project Flight Plan:  Starting Wednesday, June 18 @ 0600 PT
Rowing 4 Reefs:  Starting Wednesday, June 18 @ 0600 PT
Elsa Hammond:  ROWING – Position 6; 2067 NM to finish, Rowed 114 NM
Row for Hope:  Starting Wednesday, June 18 @ 0600 PT
Pair Racers:
Clearly Contacts CA:  Returned to Safe Harbor
CC4 Pacific:  ROWING – Position 5; 2016 NM to finish, Rowed 239 NM
Fat Chance:  Starting Wednesday, June 18 @ 0600 PT
Four Person Teams:
Battleborn:  ROWING – Position 2; 1925 NM to finish, Rowed 300 NM
Boatylicious:  Starting Wednesday, June 18 @ 0600 PT
Pacific Rowers:  Starting Wednesday, June 18 @ 0600 PT
NOMAN:  ROWING – Position 3; 1998 NM to finish, Rowed 197 NM
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 2012 NM to finish, Rowed 150 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 1867 NM to finish, Rowed 304 NM