THE BOTTOM LINE
LEAD BOATS: Winds from the ENE @ 11 to 15 knots. Seas from the S @ 5 feet / 10-17 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS: Winds from the NE @ 10 to 18 knots. Seas from the S @ 6 feet / 17 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS: Winds from the NNE clocking to N @ 6 to 9 knots. Seas from the S @ 7 feet / 17-18 seconds.
In recent reports, there has been an increasingly frequently occurring topic that we have yet to really discuss in these race reports. Sore Bums. Each of our teams has remarked about having what can be known as Gunwale Bum. It is a rash on the rump caused by spending too much time in damp or wet gear. It is a painful, pimply condition that is only exacerbated by sliding back and forth while rowing.
Take our word for it – it’s no fun.
During their first week at sea, Battleborn stated that at five days in they had “zero reasons or time to worry about the things we thought would be toughest” such as having sore butts, although they were a bit concerned about being wet non-stop.
A few days later the story developed further:
“Being onboard Patience has been a pleasure, it’s also broken down some boundaries that men would normally have between each other. Now for instance, as I sit here typing this blog, Dan (Kierath) is also shoe-horned into the cabin with me (Barry Hayes), shoved right up against me, he has his pants down and is rubbing his crotch down with a baby wipe….it’s an important ritual to reduce salt sores, but I may need to be treated for post traumatic stress disorder when I get home.”
Getting Pizza Bum or Barnacle Butt is no laughing matter. Recent reports have revealed that the bums have gone a bit bad on both NOMAN as well as Fat Chance Row. Mark Gleeson of NOMAN wrote in last week:
“We’re sat here knowing we have over 1,400 miles of open ocean left to traverse, fighting off huge waves, hunger, and sore bums and living in a world less than 24ft in length.”
In such close quarters, it is difficult to stay clean and dry. Our ladies on board Team Boatylicious also took a slightly humorous approach to describing the hygiene, or lack there of, on board the Black Oyster:
“Physically, we’re holding up well, some blisters, thousands of mystery bruises, some chafing requiring TLC 6 times a day… But not too many gory details there because, you know, we’re ladies! But I have a new empathy for crying babies with nappy rash, we have quite literally felt their pain…”
“Our other big hygiene issue are looking after our poor bottoms, with a wide range of techniques and skills incorporated. We’ve been wearing the full spectrum of options on deck from sheepskin and a smile, through silk sarongs, to knickers, to Lycra, up to full on foul weather gear in the battle for the boatylicious booties… Then once our shift is over, there’s a lot of air drying, tingly talcum powdering, Sudocreming, compeeding, and comparing! All of the gentlemen who ever offered to ‘cox’ for us on this trip would be horrified at this stage, the modern sophisticated ladies you all know and love on land are rapidly disappearing into four grungy, stinky, knotted authentic ocean rowers. Who knows whether these changes are reversible… You can take the girl out of the ocean, but can you take the ocean out of the girl?”
Until teams can dry out, and stay dry to cure their bums, ointments such as Sudocreme and/ or pain medicines have been utilized on board. Each team is equipped with an extensive medical kit and training was provided prior to each boats departure. Given the lack of sleep and exhaustion that rowers experience they do need to be careful that they assess potential medical situations correctly, as Meredith Loring can attest to after mis-diagnosing a strange growth on her husband’s back side.
“The last item I’ll share (and these are the most publicly consumable moments, believe it or not) was when Sami was showering another night and I looked up to see something on his bum. “What is that?”, I thought. I was about to shout “you missed a spot!” When I recognized the mystery item as an almond. Really, I guess we are not in the most sanitary conditions!”
Unfortunately, sunny skies are a few days off for our competitors. There appears to be uniform cloud cover over our entire fleet. For those at the front of the fleet, they will be a bit warmer with temperatures in the low 70‘s F(21-24 C). For everyone else, temperatures are in the mid 60‘s. (17-19 C)
Sore bums and cloudy conditions have not dampened the determination of our married team on Fat Chance Row. Yesterday they were tied with our all girls team on Boatylicious. Today they have rowed 12 NM ahead of the ladies. Fat Chance has also managed to close the distance between them and Pacific Warriors by 6 NM. Boatylicious continue to extend their lead over CC4 and the Black Oyster now leads La Cigogne by slightly over 14nm but the ladies have recently started to row on a more southerly course towards the route that CC4 are currently tracking. Perhaps their weather routing intelligence has indicated that CC4 have the preferred position.
At the front of our fleet, Uniting Nations has gone into full radio silence which may be helping them continue to increase their lead over Battleborn. Their satellite phone was reported as broken, however they still have GPS and other devices to guide them into Hawaii. A Support Vessel visited Uniting Nations last night and sent through today’s cover photo of the crew night rowing. The crew were so focussed that despite not seeing anyone for a few weeks the only information they wanted to know was where Team Battleborn were and to ask the support staff to let their families know that the satellite phone has broken so they won’t be getting any phone calls until they arrive in Hawaii.
Another big milestone was that in the last 24 hours, Team Battleborn has officially rowed past the 1050 NM mark, which is our official half way measurement. We look forward to hearing how they celebrated this achievement.
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 1:00 pm today
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 8; 2036 NM to finish, Rowed 462 NM
Row for Hope: Retired
Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 1014 NM to finish, Rowed 1285 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 6; 1567 NM to finish, Rowed 728 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 1245 NM to finish, Rowed 1087 NM
Pacific Rowers: Retired
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 1386 NM to finish, Rowed 947 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 854 NM to finish, Rowed 1422 NM