ONE MONTH INTO THE RACE
LEAD BOATS: Winds from the ENE @ 14 to 19 knots. Seas from the SE @ 6 feet / 10 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS: Winds from the NNE clocking to the NE @ 9 to 14 knots. Seas from the S @ 5 feet / 13-14 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS: Winds from the NNW @ 8 to 12 knots. Seas from the S @ 5 feet / 14 seconds.
As the calendar marks the one month mark, we seem to hear a little less from our crews for a variety of reasons. For several team thy have learnt the hard way that they must conserve electricity on the boat. With significant cloud cover over large portions of the Pacific for the last couple of weeks, some teams have not been able to keep their electronics charged as they seek to conserve the little power that the solar panels were generating. As teams continue on their quest west, sunnier skies are in the forecast. The communications blackout seems to be lifting, but the content of the messages we receive seem to be more conservative.
Another reason is equipment failures, such as on Uniting Nations whose satellite phone has broken. Emergency communications are still intact for our lead boat, but we think it must be a bit of a blessing today that Andre, our one Dutch rower, will not be aware of today’s loss in the World Cup.
Elsa Hammond/ Elsa Hammond’s Pacific Solo Row seems to be communicating quite well with the fishes these days. Perhaps she has become a bit of a fish whisperer. She lets us know of her latest fish tales:
- More fish in the water tank! They’re getting a bit cheeky now, and are having a proper party in there, swishing about like mad.
- Underneath my boat has become a real hang out space for the cool kids, but also a bit of a hunting ground. It’s so busy under there – I have to force myself back to the oars or I would be looking over the side all day. Lots and lots of the little fish (the ones that keep ending up in the tank), and now about 15 bigger fish that obviously like the little ones for dinner. The bigger ones are 1-2 foot long, bright blue with bright yellow tails. They swim lower down than the little fish, and just pop up to the surface to snap and gulp regularly.
- This afternoon I heard an extra splashy splashing sound in the distance behind me and looked around to see a huge pod of dolphins leaping along, obviously on their way somewhere. Some of them were loving it so much they were doing giant leaps up like an acrobat in the water. I didn’t realise that dolphins travel in such big groups – I’ve only ever seen a few at a time before – but there were at least 30 or 40 of these. Wow.
We have received reports that CC4 Pacific phoned home recently, as Chrisophe called his big sister. It was reported that the pair are very exhausted. The French duo had heard about the rowing schedule adopted by the Open Pairs team of Fat Chance Row (rowing together during the day and resting together during the night) but have decided to stick with their 2-hours on / 2-hours off routine even though it is very hard, harder than they thought it would be.
On their 30th day of rowing, our French cousins also reported:
“Today, the sea is calm. It’s like rowing on the grand canal of the castle of Versailles: only bigger and with less tourists…”
Our ladies on Team Boatylicious and our married team on Fat Chance Row are both on day 21 of their row, since they left Monterey with the second wave of rowers. We received reports from both these teams that they have been for a swim as the temperatures warm as they head west. Sami Inkinen of Fat Chance Row tells us what it was like to jump into the big blue waters:
“My choice [to celebrate 3 weeks at sea] was to consider jumping into the Pacific and enjoy the 10,000ft+ deep pool for a brief “swim” Mid-afternoon we spotted 6 about 2m long fish following us just by our stern and maybe 2-8m underwater. Meredith was certain they were “most likely not sharks” and I was convinced they looked and moved like sharks. We couldn’t find a consensus but I thought it might be her plan to get rid of the rowing partner for good.”
“I waited until 7pm to build my courage and get rid of the “most likely not sharks” before soaping myself up, buckling into my harness and jumping into the Pacific. It was scary, refreshing and calming all at the same time.”
The Boatylicious girls also reported in that they went for a swim. This little break didn’t prevent them from adding another 17 NM to the distance between them and the French cousins on CC4 Pacific. Fat Chance Row, however, is still pulling ahead and slowing reeling in the next boat in their sights, Pacific Warriors.
Pacific Warriors are in an interesting spot at the moment as they are sitting just about at the mid-point between Fat Chance Row (159 miles behind) and NOMAN (158 NM ahead). However, the distance behind them with Fat Chance Row has been decreasing on a daily basis, whilst NOMAN is getting further and further ahead. As none of these teams have yet reached the halfway mark, it is possible that we could see yet another change in our leader board in the coming weeks.
For Team Battleborn there have been both up sides and down sides to rowing across the Pacific for the last 30 days. For now at least, the benefits are outweighing the hardships.
“That’s not to say that there are no downsides, there are whopping great downsides, but the balance of the whopping upsides and the feeling of self sufficiency and lack of pressure is an incredibly humbling but nice feeling.”
“It’s pretty amazing being out here, even on the really dark nights when you can see nothing but the compass you tend to get lost in your own thoughts. Last night I was thinking about how incredibly lucky we have been…we have been described on more than one occasion as the Jamaican Bobsled Team of the race, we turned up to California not knowing half of our own team, … and we’ve ended up out here, in second position having the experience of a lifetime, with three other people who we all get on well with. You hear some horror stories about crews that hate each other once they’re together on the boat, this is definitely not the case on Patience!”
In second place currently Battleborn, is sitting between two strong teams and must be feeling the squeeze from the other boats nearest to them. Ahead of them Uniting Nations has pulled ahead another 14 NM whilst just over 200NM behind them NOMAN has reduced the gap by 8 NM in the last 24 hours. As crews approach Hawaii there focus moves from the weeks and months ahead to a (relatively) short sprint to the line pushing them to push themselves faster and harder than before. With this increased pace in mind will there be time for NOMAN to make a move and pass Team Battleborn before Hawaii? Or will Battleborn hold on to retain second place?
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 1:00 pm today
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 8; 2038 NM to finish, Rowed 510 NM
Row for Hope: Retired
Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 868 NM to finish, Rowed 1432 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 6; 1448 NM to finish, Rowed 857 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 1084 NM to finish, Rowed 1248 NM
Pacific Rowers: Retired
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 1242 NM to finish, Rowed 1092 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 677 NM to finish, Rowed 1601 NM