Day 35 Race Report

Posted on July 14, 2014 in Battleborn, Boatylicious, CC4 Pacific, Crews, Fat Chance, General, Great Pacific Race 2014, NOMAN, Pacific Warriors, Uniting Nations


Today’s cover photo of NOMAN was taken @ 24° 36.79 N, 142° 58.11 W


LEAD BOATS:  Winds from the ENE @ 12 to 17 knots.  Seas from the SSW @ 7 feet / 14-15 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS:  Winds from the NE @ 10 to 15 knots.  Seas from the SW @ 6 feet / 15 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS:  Winds from the SW @ 4 to 7 knots.  Seas from the NW @ 6 feet /  8-9 seconds.

Today we celebrate by wishing our French team on board CC4 Pacific a HAPPY  BASTILLE DAY!    Our French cousins are reportedly very happy as they have had a third day in a row of favorable winds.

“The Stork is sliding on the sea. The work done on the hull before the race was beneficial.  A big thanks to the Comus team, Franck and Justin!”

Celebrations were also happening yesterday on the all-female boat Black Oyster for Team Boatylicious.  The girls took a little time off from rowing to enjoy a mid-ocean birthday party for crew member Ingrid Kvale.  The girls broke the rules and actually stopped rowing so they could all enjoy lunch together on this special occasion.

“… we decided to make an exception to the rule by all having lunch together on the deck in the sunshine.  We tucked into our favourite freeze dried meals followed by pudding.  The girls spoilt me [Kvale] with coveted freeze dried ice cream like the astronauts eat plus freeze dried cheese cake!  Delish!  I was also given some luxury cosmetics (sample size – can’t let weight slow us down in the race!) plus perfume to mask our not so fragrant feral bodies.”

“To top it off our cabin hatch became a cocktail bar and special Boatylicious cocktails were shaken in style! There was a choice of:

  • Mai-Try: Rum plus orange oxylent (electrolyte)
  • No-jito:  Rum plus lime oxylent (polo mint optional)
  • Dai-queeri: Rum plus cranberry oxylent
  • Jamaican chocolate: Rum plus hot choc sachet
  • Jamaican coffee: Rum and coffee”

After a quick nap, the birthday girl was back to her usual schedule of rowing two hour on, then two hours off.  Even though celebrations were taking place, the girls were able to gain 11 NM over the French cousins.

As has recently been the case, our married couple of Fat Chance Row continues to impress with logging the highest 24 hour number at 67 NM for the second day in a row.  With yesterday’s big push, Fat Chance Row extended their lead over the Boatylicious girls by 19 NM and closed the gap on the Pacific Warriors by 17 NM.  It is important for our crews to not only row strong but also to row smart.  Team Fat Chance Row seems to have accomplished both of these tasks as they appear to be on a more direct path to Hawaii.  The more direct the path, and the more “off course” other teams are, can result in large gains in short periods of time. This means that if the current speeds continue that Fat Chance will overtake not just Pacific Warriors but also NOMAN before the end of the race.

Fat Chance Row isn’t leaving anything up to chance, however.  They thought they may have reached those elusive trade winds, but alas, this is not yet the case.  Meredith Loring explains in a recent blog post:

“While it’s true that we are in position to take advantage of the trades, a weather systems has dropped the winds to low single digits. It’s nice to row in, but it’s not helping us any. What has changed is this: as promised, Mr. Fix-it went to work on our broken electronics yesterday. It seems that it wasn’t faulty wiring causing the problems as we expected, but the GPS. We came close to never knowing this, as Sami nearly gave up after spending two hours in the cabin. After thinking we had tried every possible combination, he went back to try removing the GPS and switching sockets, and by god, it worked! Now we don’t have GPS (not that we have for the last two weeks) but more importantly, Arnold, the auto-pilot, is back in action!”

“Now, This May seem like a small luxury to you, but let me tell you, trying to get this boat steadily in the right direction without an auto helm or foot steering is nearly impossible, and we have spent a lot of time rowing in the wrong direction (or not exactly the right one) because of it.”


Loring basking in the knowledge that ‘Arnold’ (Autohelm) is back on the job

The crew on Pacific Warriors are doing their best to stay ahead of our married couple.  However, they may be concentrating a little too much on what is happening in other sports around the world.  We have received reports that Duncan Tebb has been curious about what is happening in the Tour de France as he has been cheering for some fellow aussies in the competition “especially Ritchie Porte who has been improving his position in his quest for the Yellow Jersey and is proud of Michael Rogers’ performance, too.  Duncan is also cheering Peter Sagan, Green Jersey leader” according to sources.

We also received an interesting viewpoint from John Wagner.  He stated that the biggest challenge for him has not been having to get up every three hours to row, as he thought it would have been.  Instead, he finds the difficult part of this row to be the ability to give his BEST effort each time he takes to the oars.  After weeks at sea it can be particularly challenging for rowers to dig up fresh motivation. They are exhausted, have had limited amounts of sleep and the ocean has stopped being a novelty. That makes finding motivation to haul as hard as you can on the oars the real challenge, but working in a team helps, all rowers feel a strong sense of dedication to their crew which is a reflection of the strength of friendships that this sport generates.

Rowing across an ocean is much more of a mental challenge than a physical one.  Wagner is correct in that the only real thing one has control over is how you approach the row and your performance.
The Pacific Warriors are also being quite gracious out there in the middle of the Pacific.  As they crossed the half way mark in mileage, they sent this note out:

“Finally more than half way!. Thinking of everyone who has helped us get this far and today we would particularly like to thank our sponsors @EnviroPouch

At the front of the pack, our three teams of NOMAN. Team Battleborn and Uniting Nations continue to push hard toward the finish.   Even though Team Battleborn have gained on both competitors, moving closer to Uniting Nations and further away from NOMAN, they are reportedly playing a few other games on board Patience.

“Onboard, we have a game – if you see a flying fish and can see it flying long enough for someone else to verify it you get four points. If you get hit by a flying fish you also get four points. If you see one land on the boat and are able to successfully rescue it and put it back in the water alive you get five points. And if one flies into your mouth you get 10 points. Yesterday Billy got hit in the chin… so close! Today, I got 23 points, two verified sitings of schools of flying fish, and a massive three rescues. I am essentially the Flying Fish Rescue Service.”

We have heard about the troubles that Uniting Nations and NOMAN are having with their seats. Overcoming broken or damaged equipment is all part of the race, however you will be pleased to know there is certainly no need to worry about Battleborn’s seats breaking. Word of the trouble seats on boat NOMAN and Uniting Nations has reached Team Battleborn.  Fixing broken seats is one area that Team Battleborn doesn’t seem to have too much concern over, as we read in a recent blog:

“I don’t know how many spares we have on board because the pile of spares that we have resembles a small mountain range. Despite our boat being older and slower, our seats are actually far more durable than the ones on the UN and NOMAN boats. The wheels we use are from roller blades, and although not marine proof, each lot of bearings lasts about a thousand miles at this pace before they blow out. We have about 20,000 miles worth of wheels!”

We hope that Team Battleborn is right about the seats, but it takes much more than a happy, sliding bum to win the Biggest Baddest Human Endurance Challenge that is the Great Pacific Race!  This time tomorrow we hope to be starting the countdown to the arrival of the first crew. Will Team Battleborn be able to claw into the lead or will Uniting Nations continue to hold them off? We have about 8 days to find out. Exciting? You bet!

CORRECTION:  Yesterday’s Race Report incorrectly stated that Team Battleborn had gained 16 NM over Team Uniting Nations.  The separation between these boats actually went in the other direction, going from 180 NM on Day 33 to 184 NM on Day 34.  The separation on Day 35 is 173 NM.  This was a math calculation error by your’s truly and my apologies for any confusion or panic this may have caused.

Solo Racers:
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – Position 8; 2065 NM to finish, Rowed 575 NM
Row for Hope: Retired

Pair Racers:
Clearly Contacts CA: Withdrawn
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – Position 7; 1342 NM to finish, Rowed 1102 NM
Fat Chance: ROWING – Position 5; 1108 NM to finish, Rowed 1315 NM

Four Person Teams:
Battleborn: ROWING – Position 2; 591 NM to finish, Rowed 1715 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – Position 6; 1210 NM to finish, Rowed 1108 NM
NOMAN: ROWING – Position 3; 815 NM to finish, Rowed 1518 NM
Pacific Rowers: Retired
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – Position 4; 922 NM to finish, Rowed 1343 NM
Uniting Nations: ROWING – Position 1; 418 NM to finish, Rowed 1861 NM