Day 9 Race Report

Posted on June 18, 2014 in Battleborn, Boatylicious, CC4 Pacific, Elsa Hammond, General, Great Pacific Race 2014, NOMAN, Pacific Warriors, Project Flight Plan, Uniting Nations


The number of miles to go are getting smaller for those who have been rowing for the past nine days. There are now five teams that are below the 2,000 NM mark. At the same time, the number of NMs rowed in a 24 hour period are also increasing. Our 24 hour leader is Battleborn who logged 46 NM. This also means that they have gained 7 NM on the lead boat, Uniting Nations, placing Battleborn 42 NM behind the lead boat. Battleborn also increased their lead over NOMAN by 19 NM in the last 24 hours.

We saw a change on our leader board as Pacific Warriors moved from 5th place into 4th after clocking 28 NM in the last 24 hours. CC4 Pacific, now in 5th place, managed to row under the 2,000 mark, but only clocked 11 NM.

Issues still plague our lead rowers. It has been determined that the yellow brick tracker on Pacific Warriors has been damaged. The Great Pacific Race Support Team is working on a fix for their tracker. In the meantime, we are frequently receiving their location and are manually updating the Yellowbrick tracker as this information is received. Pacific Warriors also have a faulty antenna on their satellite phone which is causing some spotty coverage. The team is in good spirits and have been able to transmit texts as we read the following post:

“Please send jars of Black Market Salsa to Waikiki Yacht Club sometime next month. . .”

Susannah Cass of Pacific Warriors reported to Race Director Chris Martin:

“Can’t believe it’s only been 8 days. Sun has come out and we are able to go go west. This = excellent.”

We have also received several reports of broken oars over the last 24 hours. Pacific Warriors reported “snapped oar – really really big wave we saw.” Battleborn reported that they had snapped an oar and damaged their daggerboard but otherwise all was good. Our third report was a double hit for Elsa Hammond as she sacrificed two oars to the mighty Pacific.

“Both oars broke as I was nearly capsized by big breaking waves. Tried my best to get them out of the way but also was holding on to try and stay in the boat. Waves broke right over me – whole side of boat underwater, and whole thing filled by wave. So fast. So scary. Left me shaking.”

Reports are also becoming more consistent as teams head further south and west in their search for the elusive trades. The weather continues to improve and their rowing becomes a bit easier in the mellowing seas. Our French team of CC4 Pacific are heading on a slightly southern route “with a sideway swell.” According to reports from their shore team “to put up with this situation, Clément is listening to US rap and Christophe to some podcasts of French radios.” All the while they are learning to be patient while at sea in dealing with whatever the mighty Pacific has in store for them. To that end, they have “started to dip into their wine, saucisson and cheese reserves to wait patiently… Long live France!” Clément Heliot added the comment that the nights are more and more cold and unfortunately garbage is increasingly visible. This report is an unfortunate contrast to the reports of dolphins and whales, and is a report that each of us has the ability to change.

For Elsa Hammond, it is too early to hope for the trades, so her hope is just for better weather, which she knows is coming. She is still moving westward, rowing hard and making progress. In her recent blog we learned of another hazard for her.

“Still near a lot of shipping lanes, so am frequently woken up by the AIS warning me that there are ships in the area at could be a danger to me. The AIS has a lovely way of putting it. “Distance from target” “Accuracy: high” etc. I then watch them anxiously on the GPS to see if they carry on heading towards me, or if they look like they’ve noticed and have changed course. Often I have to get on the VHF to speak to them, just in case – particularly at night when I feel more vulnerable. When I get a reply from them, I let them know that I’m a small vessel, limited in my ability to maneuver, (and also often lying in para anchor) , and I just wanted to make sure that they’re aware of me. So far they have all politely agreed to alter course.”

As the lead boats search for those elusive trades, Hammond is searching for that elusive better weather and some rest.

Team NOMAN has posted their first blog. Like the others, they have had their sea anchor out due to the strong conditions, but they also report that weather and moods are getting better.

“We all felt a bit miserable and frustrated when we were forced onto anchor during those first days but are feeling much more positive now that we are making positive progress. we’re trying to stay focused on ourselves and not think about the other boats. It was disappointing that all the crews could not have left Monterey at the same time. Having got to know everybody in the build up we all really hope that everybody gets away and makes it to Hawaii. We even hope to be able to have a drink with one or two of them at the end if our arrivals coincide.”

NOMAN should be careful what they wish for as those other teams have left the dock and are hot on the trails of those who have rowed before them. As NOMAN is aware, teams can make great strides very quickly, and the teams that left Monterey Bay this morning appear to have learned that lesson well from the example set by the crew aboard NOMAN.

On the morning of the second wave of rowers heading out to join the rest of the fleet, Race Director Chris Martin was feeling both excited for the rowers as well as relief that everyone was heading out. “It feels a bit as if the children are flying from the nest. I’m excited for them. I can’t wait to follow their race and share in their experiences as they cross the Pacific.” Martin and his team have truly created the GREAT Pacific Race.

The teams ashore started gathering at 0430 this morning to make final preparations to their boats. By 0530, the sun was on the rise and so were emotions as teams said their goodbyes to their family, friends and supporters who would be staying ashore. There were many hugs between rowers as each team would be embarking on their own separate journey. The second wave departure was more somber than the start on June 9, perhaps due to the early hour or perhaps because teams had built stronger bonds over the last week ashore.

At 0545, there was a quick muster in front of the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club and then teams headed out for the great Pacific. Even though the hour was early, there were still a handful of support and spectator boats on the water to escort the teams on their way and give them a proper send off. For those not rowing, it felt all too soon when it was time to head back to shore and let the teams row off into the ocean.

As the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club Race Committee boat headed back to shore, a final call came in over the VHF radio from Ingrid Kvale of Team Boatylicious:, this is Boatylicious. Over.

This is Go ahead Boatylicious. Over.

This is Ingrid speaking. I’m calling to request that you pass on a hug to my sister and tell her I’ll see her in Hawaii. This is Boatylicious, Hawaii bound. Over and out.

STOP PRESS: Mary Rose / Project Flight Plan returned to land shortly after departing with a minor electrical problem that was easier to fix on land than at sea. However, the onshore winds were too strong to allow her to depart straight away and so she is waiting until the wind decreases before departing around 18:00 this evening (18th June).

Solo Racers:
Project Flight Plan: Returned to Safe Harbor – expected to continue rowing later today
Rowing 4 Reefs: ROWING – Position 11, 2078 NM to finish, Rowed 38 NM
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 6; 2057 NM to finish, Rowed 145 NM
Row for Hope: ROWING – Position 10, 2078 NM to finish, Rowed 38 NM
Pair Racers:
Clearly Contacts CA: Returned to Safe Harbor
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – Position 5; 1998 NM to finish, Rowed 302 NM
Fat Chance: ROWING – Position 7; 2072 NM to finish, Rowed 33 NM
Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 1836 NM to finish, Rowed 400 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 9; 2076 to finish, Rowed 15 NM
Pacific Rowers: ROWING – Position 8; 2075 to finish, Rowed 15 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 1940 NM to finish, Rowed 304 NM
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 1971 NM to finish, Rowed 272 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 1794 NM to finish, Rowed 417