Day 17 Race Report

Posted on June 26, 2014 in Battleborn, Boatylicious, CC4 Pacific, Elsa Hammond, Fat Chance, General, Great Pacific Race 2014, NOMAN, Pacific Warriors, Team Pacific Rowers, Uniting Nations


LEAD BOATS: Winds from the NE @ 10 to 13 knots. Seas from the SSE @ SSE 5 feet / 11 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS: Winds from the NNE clocking to the N @ 8 to 13 knots. Seas from the SSE moving to the S @ 5 feet at 11-12 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS: Winds from the N clocking to the NNW @ 12 to 18 knots. Seas from the N moving to the WNW @ 6-7 feet / 7-8 seconds.

For the next several days our rowers should experience ideal weather conditions out in the Pacific. Across the course, winds should average between 5-15 knots and the seas should be relatively calm as a high pressure system passes to the north of our rowers. Those in the back of the fleet will have slightly higher swells than our front runners, but only for the next day or so. The extended forecast looks ideal, at least until Monday or Tuesday of next week. We hope that all of our rowers will take full advantage of such good conditions and we anticipate seeing double digit numbers logged across the board for the 24 hour periods.

Elsa Hammond / Elsa Hammond’s Pacific Solo Row could benefit the most from these favourable conditions as she is now rowing with one good oar and one “mended” oar. She is doing her best to not have to ask for assistance from one of our support boats to supply her with new equipment. We hope that she will use these promising conditions in the coming days to make more progress west. Her strength and determination continue to impress us and her supporters. Go Elsa!

Being freed from the trying weather conditions is not the only liberation for our rowers. As teams start to dry out and head further west, they are releasing themselves from the restrictions of wearing clothing on board. Until now, reports have been that teams have had to wear their full foul weather gear to be able to stay protected from the massive waves crashing over the boats and the high, chilly winds. For example, Team NOMAN reports that:

“ is so so cold during the nights and the spray from the waves and lack of dry clothing means we are in our foul weather gear 24 hours a day. In fact I have been wearing 5 layers non-stop for the past 5/6 days…and smell pretty unpleasant as a result!”

Teams to the east and west of team NOMAN are making slightly different fashion statements. Meredith Loring on Fat Chance Row gives a great description of an outfit that sounds as thought it was modelled after a challenge on Project Runway:

“Now I really look like a bag lady! The sun is so strong that every inch of skin needs to be covered, so I’m wearing a face mask and a big pink hat. I look like a bank robber, I’m sure! I’ve come up with what I think is a great system to protect my butt- sheepskin inside my shorts, garbage bag with leg holes outside of shorts, and Goretex pants on top. I sleep with my furry friend inside the sleeping bag to keep it dry, it’s my most treasured item at the moment. This bum needs to stay dry!”

Loring has been fighting several battles between her clothing and the sea, with the sea claiming a pant leg or arm sleeve during various attacks from “sideways waves”.

It seems that eventually our rowers simply give in and are starting to row “au natural”. In his efforts to keep their divorce-o-meter at 0 (which has been achieved) Loring’s husband Sami Inkinen tells the story of how they are making this transition:

“Without going into graphical details, while Meredith visited the open air bathroom early am, a decent wave crashed over the deck. Her last dry pair of rowing shorts was done…so she decided to row in full rain and foul weather gear sans any bottoms. She said it was a breezy day.”

“I continue to hold on to my pants, but given the constant state of wetness (on deck, in cabin, in my pants) I’m looking forward to some calm, sunny days, to be able to follow Meredith’s lead and live free for a few days.”

We have also received reports from Uniting Nations that some crew members are simply rowing naked. While this has improved their ability to row as they are less restricted, other crew members find this this system to not be the greatest visually. Uniting Nations gained 9 NM over Battleborn over the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, our French team on board CC4 Pacific have managed to lose their alarm clock. Their shore team was a bit puzzled by this report and wondered if they had not, perhaps, lost this alarm on purpose. While time was standing still for our French team, the girls on Boatylicious managed to gain 10 NM on them. Our all girls team also added 20 NM to their lead over Fat Chance Row.

For the boys on Battleborn, is it possible that delirium may have set in? It has only been a little over two weeks, but a recent blog reports of cookie crime waves – birds seen wearing a top hat and swinging a cane – and a 65 year old mystery man who is apparently on board the boat! It should be noted that the crews ages actually range between 24 and 42. Click here for the full story – it’s a very humorous report!

As teams make their way further and further from the California coast, land crews are getting ready to head west. Race operations are currently in Monterey, and will remain there until crews are at least 200 miles off the California coast. Last night, Race Director Chris Martin presented Monterey Yacht Club Commodore David Blaskovich with a special memento – an ocean rowing oar – as a symbol of thanks for the hospitality and generosity the Great Pacific Race has received from the club.

The support and messages from land have been worldwide. For those of you in London, there will be a gathering in honor of all participants in the Great Pacific Race on Monday, June 30 from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm local time. The venue is the Allsop Arms Pub, 137-143 Gloucester Place, London. If you are in the area, please drop in and show your support for all of our crews rowing across the mighty Pacific.

Solo Racers:
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 8; 2052 NM to finish, Rowed 342 NM
Row for Hope: Retired

Pair Racers:
Clearly Contacts CA: Withdrawn
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – Position 5; 1864 NM to finish, Rowed 526 NM
Fat Chance: ROWING – Position 7; 1965 NM to finish, Rowed 391 NM

Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 1527 NM to finish, Rowed 761 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 6; 1912 NM to finish, Rowed 312 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 1681 NM to finish, Rowed 610 NM
Pacific Rowers: Retired
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 1746 NM to finish, Rowed 557 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 1414 NM to finish, Rowed 858 NM