Day 20 Race Report

Posted on June 29, 2014 in Battleborn, Boatylicious, CC4 Pacific, Elsa Hammond, Fat Chance, General, Great Pacific Race 2014, NOMAN, Pacific Warriors, Uniting Nations


LEAD BOATS: Winds from the ENE @ 8 to 12 knots. Seas from the NW @ 7 feet / 12-13 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS: Winds from the N @ 12 to 16 knots. Seas from the WSW moving to the NW @ 6-8 feet / 13-15 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS: Winds from the NNW clocking to the NW @ 15 to 21 knots. Seas from the NNW @ 8 feet / 7 seconds.

Today on Uniting Nations, thoughts turn to the fact that Hawaii is nearly closer than the California Coast. The halfway-point is important from a psychological perspective.  Once across this invisible line, teams are closer to the finish than the start. For our team on Uniting Nations, if they keep up their current pace, they should reach this milestone later this week.

We asked Race Director Chris Martin if he had any special memories of when he crossed the halfway-point when he and rowing partner Mick Dawson rowed the North Pacific in 2009.  Martin recalled that it was on day 87 of their 189-day journey when they were equal distance between Choshi, Japan and San Francisco, CA.  “I remember someone sending us an email letting us know that we had made it past this milestone but we didn’t really mark it especially onboard.  Far more conspicuous were the celebrations as we passed each degree of longitude.”

We are attempting to discover what teams are planning to celebrate, if anything, the crossing of that halfway-point, so stay tuned in the coming days for these updates.

The California coast has held a firm grasp upon solo rower Elsa Hammond / Elsa Hammond’s Pacific Solo Row.  The wind is expected do drop to about 5-10 knots in the area where Hammond is currently rowing.  These conditions should hold for the next 4-5 days.  We expect her to seize the opportunity to get some west in her route with these more favourable conditions.

Hammond is very aware of her conditions and the importance of her heading to the west:

“I have been finding it tough to keep struggling on in these horrible conditions, invariably only being dragged east when I row, and trying to make very stroke count in the right direction. There is hope of a few days of lighter winds approaching that might allow me to make a break for it, but it’s definitely demoralising to finish each day of rowing further away from Hawaii than I was when I started. It’s particularly tough as it feels like everyone else is now sunning themselves on blue seas, being wafted gently towards Hawaii by friendly trade winds (I know it probably isn’t quite like that)…”

For the rest of the fleet, the winds are getting lighter. Lighter winds don’t necessarily mean faster rowing.  It is more important to be on the shortest route to Hawaii, which would be a route slightly to the north of where most of our rowers are currently.  This route is known as the Great Circle Route.  To compare what each team is seeing out there for wind conditions, the majority of the crews are experiencing  between 1 and 15 knots with Battleborn (9-13 knots) and Uniting Nations (7-11 knots)  in lighter winds and Hammond (16-21 knots) still battling stronger weather.

Team Fat Chance Row is also realizing a bit of a “now or never” moment which might compare to that of a half way mark.

“Yesterday the winds were calm-ish but turned more against us; just a short break from oars and I saw GPS coordinates start ticking back towards east. Stressful. But we both put in about 16hrs of rowing. Waves are now picking up again but wind direction should remain only partially headwind for another 48hrs which is our “now or never” moment to escape the mainland for Hawaii!

“We’ve already seen a few random north-east waves traveling to Hi direction and we’ve named them Maitai’s. Each Maitai gets a huge cheer from one of us. We pray that Maitai’s become very frequent in the next two weeks.

Another milestone is that today marks the end of week three of the Great Pacific Race.  Five of our teams have been out there rowing for this entire period.  These are Battleborn, CC4 Pacific, Elsa Hammond, Pacific Warriors and Uniting Nations.  Pacific Warriors texted:

“Seas so flat and windless. Starting to miss the soul drenching beam on monsters we started with. Come on trades!  3 weeks of rowing as of today. Pain is in the mind. Just kidding! It’s definitely in the body as well.

The support for all of our teams has been overwhelming. Below are some events you may be interested in attending or tuning in to while our rowers cross the Pacific.

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.

Flash FM, an internet radio station based in Oxford, UK will be broadcasting reports from the Battleborn team. At 9pm (UK & Ireland time) four days during the week listeners can tune in by clicking this link to hear an update of Team Battleborn’s progress. The Flash team also invite Battleborn followers to message or tweet the show using #FlashRow

Saturday 28 June: 11.00 – 14.00 BST – Live OB from The Athlete Centre, Oxford.
Mondays (from 30 June):    21.00 BST,           13.00 PST,           5.00 PERTH (Tues)
Wednesdays (from 2 July): 21.00 BST,           13.00 PST,           5.00 PERTH (Thur)
Thursdays (from 3 July):     21.00 BST,           13.00 PST            5.00 PERTH (Fri)
Fridays (from 4 July):           21.00 BST,           13.00 PST            5.00 PERTH (Sat)

These broadcasts will continue (same day, same time) until Patience and her crew pull into  harbour safely in Hawaii.

Solo Racers:
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 8; 2060 NM to finish, Rowed 369 NM
Row for Hope: Retired

Pair Racers:
Clearly Contacts CA: Withdrawn
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – Position 5; 1786 NM to finish, Rowed 619 NM
Fat Chance: ROWING – Position 7; 1866 NM to finish, Rowed 522 NM

Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 1377 NM to finish, Rowed 914 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 6; 1823 NM to finish, Rowed 431 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 1548 NM to finish, Rowed 743 NM
Pacific Rowers: Retired
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 1643 NM to finish, Rowed 679 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 1246 NM to finish, Rowed 1026 NM