WEEK FOUR BEGINS
LEAD BOATS: Winds from the ENE @ 12 to 16 knots. Seas from the SE @ 5-6 feet / 10 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS: Winds from the NNE 11 to 15 knots. Seas from the S @ 6 feet / 16 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS: Winds from the NW @ 6 to 9 knots. Seas from the S @ 6 feet / 15-16 seconds.
The skies are clearing for our boats at the front of the fleet and they are finally able to use their solar panels to re-charge their batteries. The sun came out just in time for Team Battleborn to receive a tweet from none other than The Killers.
“Row row row yer boat! Support our sea-faring brothers. pacificrow2014.com” @thekillers
Non-music aficionados may not be aware that “Battle Born” is the title track of the the Killers’ 4th album which skipper Philip Cavanagh is particularly keen of. The boys on board Patience were very excited about this tweet and immediately posted:
“Sun out, batteries charged, blogs tomorrow, Killers tweeted and FB-ed… not too shabby.”
Philip Cavanagh stated ‘That’s Amazing!’ when hearing the news. Since the tweet came out, it has been re-tweeted 346 times and received over a thousand likes. The Killers are not known for being particularly active on social media so well done Team Battleborn for receiving such a great shout out!
Unfortunately the excitement of this news hasn’t yet translated into speed for Team Battleborn and Uniting Nations were able to sneak a further 4 NM over Battleborn. And third placed Team NOMAN has been slowly eating into Battleborn’s lead, closing the gap between them by about 5 NM since Saturday. However, this may be a case of too little, too late as with 229 NM between the two boats time is running out for NOMAN to take a step up the podium to the silver medal spot. As Mark Gleeson from NOMAN commented “we might need to row another ocean to be able to catch up, but we’ll do our best”. Gleeson though will of course be happy to know that his crew are increasing the distance between themselves and Pacific Warriors. One week ago, the distance between the 3rd and 4th boats was 106 NM. Today that distance has grown to 148 NM.
A little rain has fallen in the middle of our fleet. Rain doesn’t affect rowers much other than they get wet but it is a nice feeling to wash the salt off especially true for the increasing number of crews who through watermaker failures or charging problems have been forced to use the manual watermaker for their fresh water. With a production rate of just over a US gallon (4 ½ litres) of freshwater per hour and needing to use physical effort to do so (instead of rowing or resting), fresh water becomes an even more valuable commodity than normal.
We know that it was raining on the Pacific Warriors when Race Director Chris Martin had a chat with Susannah Cass who reported:
“It’s raining a bit at the moment and has been solid cloud cover for as long as I can remember. Wind is generally from the NE but it does seem to be clocking around to come more from the E in the last week or so.”
Martin reported that Cass, the one female on board the team of four, sounded quite tired and is finding the rowing rather monotonous. She reported that the Pacific Warriors had seen a few birds but hardly any wildlife in the last few days. Cass also told Martin that crew members John Wagner and Duncan Tebb went for a swim yesterday and scraped the bottom of the boat. A few barnacles and a tiny crab were seen, but no fish. We received reports that Team Battleborn had also gone for a swim, but they were doing so to scrub themselves for the first time in 28 days, not necessarily to scrub their boat.
A few days ago, Team Boatylicious sent in a request for contact information for Team Pacific Warriors. Martin reported that Pacific Warriors had not heard from the Boatylicious girls for the last few days but Cass commented that within 2 days of the last message from the girls that the deck on Limited Intelligence (the Pacific Warriors vessel) had been cleaned and organized and the boys had all had a wash. We all hope that these high standards of cleanliness and hygiene continue and that they’ll have another wash before they arrive in Hawaii.
Our married team on Fat Chance Row continues to have the most impressive gains in the race. They have more than doubled the distance between themselves and our all girls team on Boatylicious. Sami Inkinen gives us a few insights as to their motivation to make such impressive gains:
“July 4th, as well as several days before it, has been crunch time for us. Rowing, rowing and a bit more rowing. Steady pressure on oars and just hard work. We are working in direct side wind and trying to make maximum westerly progress. Tomorrow Monday we should cross 130 degrees west, which is a huge mental milestone and final goodbye to headwinds. At that point I should be able to make the first prediction about our Hawaii arrival date (in the absence of any major equipment or health failure….)”
It could be that the fish that the Pacific Warriors are looking for are all hanging out with Elsa Hammond, our one solo rower in the race who seems to seldom be alone. Hammond continues to impress us with her recent progress west. She reports in with an update on several marine encounters she has had in recent days.
“I checked the water intake tank today and have found new guests – a little fish and a tiny crab. I haven’t managed to get them out yet, so they’re heading west with me for the moment, relaxing in their spacious swimming pool.”
The next day Hammond reported in:
“I have a whole shoal of little fish under my boat – I wonder how long they’ll stay with me?”
“I was woken suddenly early this morning while it was still dark by something bumping loudly into the boat. It swam under and round the boat several times, and bumped into it twice more – I could hear loud breathing (?) when it surfaced. I wish it had been light so I could have seen what it was and how big. It sounded enormous, and made a real noise out there. Not the most relaxing way to wake up…”
It isn’t unknown for whales to come really close to and even rub themselves against ocean row boats. Sometimes this is just interest in the vessel and other times it is to scratch an itch on the barnacles that have become stuck to the underside of the boat’s hull. This can be a scary experience for obvious reasons but despite their huge strength and weight there are no reported instances of whales damaging an ocean row boat. We hope that this run continues for Elsa and all our rowers and the continue to row the mighty Pacific.
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 1:00 pm today
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 8; 2034 NM to finish, Rowed 478 NM
Row for Hope: Retired
Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 962 NM to finish, Rowed 1338 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 6; 1528 NM to finish, Rowed 772 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 1190 NM to finish, Rowed 1142 NM
Pacific Rowers: Retired
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 1338 NM to finish, Rowed 996 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 798 NM to finish, Rowed 1478 NM