Day 32 Race Report

Posted on July 11, 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 E @ 10 to 14 knots. Seas from the ESE @ 5 feet / 9-10 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS: Winds from the ENE @ 8 to 12 knots. Seas from the ENE @ 5 feet / 9 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS: Winds from the NW clocking to the NNW @ 12 to 18 knots. Seas from the NW @ 6 feet at 9 seconds.

The good news is that communications have returned on board Uniting Nations.  As it turned out their satellite phone was not broken.  It was just out of minutes.  Their shore team thought this might be the case when they heard that the phone had “broken” and were able to add credit to the account re-activating the phone.

The bad news is that Uniting Nations crew member Casper Zafer reported that after many repairs over the past few weeks, the bow seat had finally broken and was irreparable. The other seat is damaged but, for now at least, slides back and forth. This means that one rower can only use their torso and arms to power the boat instead of using their legs as well. This not only makes maintaining timing between the two rowers difficult, but it also increases the chance of the oars clashing and breaking. It also significantly reduces the amount of power that can be applied by one of the rowers, meaning that the boat will go slower. We have already witnessed the speed of Uniting Nations drop significantly over the past day or so.

Of course this broken seat is good news for Team Battleborn.  The team has put the pedal to the medal and logged 62 NM in daily mileage which is a new personal best and fastest in the fleet. Battleborn gained an impressive 14 NM on the lead boat and also added 4 NM to the buffer between them and third place team, NOMAN.  With Uniting Nations nursing a broken seat and Battleborn in the ascendancy, the battle to be the first four man team to row the Pacific has really heated up.  This is turning into one of the greatest races right down to the checkered flag that we’ve ever witnessed.

Earlier today the Yellowbrick tracker was predicting a finish time between the two crews of less than 3 hours after more than 40 days at sea. Amazing. There are still 182 NM separating first and second place, but with a closing speed of 14 NM gain per day, it would take Battleborn in second, 13 days to make the move into the front spot.  Will Uniting Nations’ stroke seat hold out for the rest of the race or will it break resulting in even less speed for our front runners? Will Battleborn find yet another gear to further increase their speed?

In our next grouping of boats, the equally quiet (in terms of communication) Pacific Warriors had their lead over Fat Chance reduced slightly as the married duo from California took a 7 NM bite out of the four’s lead over them.  In front of Pacific Warriors, NOMAN in third were able to add 12 NM to their lead over them.  This is another area of the race to watch closely as a leader board change may be imminent. Fat Chance have a bit more time to make their move on the Pacific Warriors before Hawaii and the gap between the two is now down to 146 NM.

As we reported yesterday, Team NOMAN has crossed over the half way point in regard to nautical miles to Hawaii.  Chris Blacketer wrote in the team blog on how they acknowledged reaching this milestone:

“We passed the half way point in terms of distance last night at around 4am.  Not much of a celebration ensued as we were all too tired and it dawned on us that we have at least 1050 miles still to go.  However we did all enjoy our Raspberry crumble desert from Mountain House that little bit more – they really do produce delicious meals anytime, anywhere.”

The teams thoughts have also turned toward the finish as they are already thinking of their first meal on arrival in Hawaii. Pizza!  We assume they would want the one with ham and pineapple, although this wasn’t specified in their blog post.

Last night Team Boatylicious experienced their first rain shower, shortly after their first reported dip into the Pacific.

“Tonight it rained, not only for the first time since we started our trip, but the first time since we arrived in California back in May. It was proper sideways rain as you’d expect on an ocean, but I can tell you this, despite still being cold, it is so wonderfully refreshing to be pelted in the face with fresh water rather than salt water for a change.”

Even through the sideways rain the girls were able to put an additional 19 NM to the distance between them and the French team of CC4 Pacific.  The French cousins also braved the waters and went for their first swim in the Pacific recently.

“They described it as a fantastic moment. A mix of tension – to dive into the unknown with 2600m of depth can be scary- and relaxation of their numb muscles. They didn’t see any fish (phew) or barnacles under the boat.”

As teams get closer to the end of their journey, we would like to take moment to remember some of the reasons they decided to go on this quest across the ocean.  Today we will highlight the charities of Team Battleborn.

The four crew members of Team Battleborn each selected a different charity to represent on during their row.   You can click on the links below to donate to any one of these causes.  Some of the charities were selected for more personal reasons to the members of the team than others.

Darren ‘Billy’ Taylor is rowing with the aim of raising awareness and funds for Young Onset Parkinson’s.  Along with others, he is working on launching a new charity called Spotlight YOPD (Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease) currently they are supporting the incredible work of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.   Some of you who have been aware of the race for a while will be aware that Darren was originally due to participate in the race as an Open pair with Alex Flynn (early onset Parkinson’s sufferer and ultra-endurance athlete.) They unfortunately had to postpone their pairs row until the 2016 race but Darren is committed to working with Spotlight YOPD to raise awareness of this debilitating neurological condition diagnosed in the young.

The other charities for Team Battleborn are:

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind which offers a comprehensive suite of services to enable both blind and vision impaired persons and families of children with Autism to achieve increased independence and an improved quality of life.

Aware which aims to create a society where people affected by stress, depression and mood disorders are understood, supported, free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies.  Their aim is to reach as many people as possible, and by providing online support options as well as face-to-face options their organisation can really make a difference.

Help For Heroes who offer practical, direct support to the wounded service personnel and their families.  Their missions is to deliver an enduring national network of support for the wounded and their families.  They will inspire and enable those who have made sacrifices on our behalf to achieve their full potential.

Solo Racers:
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 8; 2052 NM to finish, Rowed 545 NM
Row for Hope: Retired

Pair Racers:
Clearly Contacts CA: Withdrawn
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – Position 7; 1456 NM to finish, Rowed 987 NM
Fat Chance: ROWING – Position 5; 1295 NM to finish, Rowed 1126 NM

Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 755 NM to finish, Rowed 1546 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 6; 1358 NM to finish, Rowed 955 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 973 NM to finish, Rowed 1359 NM
Pacific Rowers: Retired
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 1149 NM to finish, Rowed 1185 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 573 NM to finish, Rowed 1704 NM