WE HAVE A FINISHER!
LEAD BOATS: Winds from the E @ 15 to 21 knots. Seas from the E moving to the ESE @ 7 feet / 7-8 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS: Winds from the ENE @ 15 to 21 knots. Seas from the ENE @ 6-7 feet / 7-8 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS: Winds from the NE clocking to the ENE @ 8 to 14 knots. Seas from the NE @ 6 feet / 9 seconds.
Today at 1230 HST Team Uniting Nations Row on board Danielle crossed the finish line of the inaugural Great Pacific Race. The four man team of Craig Hackett (NZ), Caspar Zafer (UK), Andre Kiers (NL) and Junho Choi (South Korea) accomplished their row from Monterey, California to Waikiki, Hawaii in 43 days, 5 hours and 30 minutes. As the first four person team to accomplish this, Team Uniting Nations has not only set the Guinness World Record, but have also set the the overall race record. They have also created their own legacy as the four person trophy for the Great Pacific Race will henceforth be called The Uniting Nations Trophy.
Hackett, 31, is the first New Zealand man to row the Pacific and Choi, 33 is the first ever Korean to row ANY ocean.
The team was greeted by friends and family who had flown to the Hawaiian Islands from New Zealand, Ireland, Great Britain and the US mainland.
Team members of Uniting Nations met each other for the first time when they all arrived in Monterey, California about a month before the start of the race. Each of them had applied separately for the race and were assigned together as a team by Race Director Chris Martin. Now that they have crossed the mighty Pacific together, the bond between the team members is apparent.
Their crossing was not without incident. About eight days after leaving the California Coast, their electric watermaker stopped working. Since that time, the team has been using a manual hand pump desalinator to turn sea water into drinking water for their voyage. Approximately two weeks before arriving in Waikiki, their first seat ceased moving. A week later, their second seat also became stationary, despite attempts to repair the damage to the slides. The damage had been done and the team had to use only their upper body strength to continue their row. This slowed their progress, opening the door for Team Battleborn to make a move and try to pass this powerhouse team.
The wind gods were on their side as Tropical Storm Wali gave team Uniting Nations a big push toward Hawaii, securing their position to be the first team across the finish line of the Great Pacific Race.
Upon having the first team across the line, Race Director Chris Martin said:
“Seeing this record setting team from all corners of the globe arrive in Hawaii, after spending more than a month racing from Monterey in the Great Pacific Race is testament to the power of the human spirit. They have battled against their peers in other boats, the adverse weather and overcome broken equipment to win the biggest, baddest human endurance race on the planet. I’m honoured to welcome them back to dry land safe and sound. Moments like today remind me of what it’s like to be on an ocean and is exactly why I founded this race. I hope that where these four men have gone, more will follow as they inspire others with their tale of ocean adventures in the only human powered race on the Pacific.”
We anticipate that the next boat to finish will be Team Battleborn. They are approximately 142 NM from shore and we look forward to greeting them in Waikiki in about two days.
Upon hearing the news of Uniting Nations crossing the finish line, other teams were quick to send out notes of congratulations.
FROM PACIFIC ROWERS: Over our short time at sea, we quickly developed an understanding of just how difficult it is to complete The Great Pacific Race. Despite the stereotypical notion of palm trees and white sand beaches, the Pacific is actually a very formidable stretch of water!
Team Uniting Nations were always one of the strongest teams in the race. Their attitude to preparation in the days and weeks leading up to the race start was, frankly, astonishing. Despite not really knowing each other and some issues with language, Uniting Nations were arguably the most prepared 4 man team on the start line of The Great Pacific Race. Their standing in the race is a lesson to every ocean rower that preparation is key.
Following our rescue, we have watched the team’s progress on Yellowbrick with jealousy. Along their way, Team Uniting Nations will no doubt have encountered everything from squalls to full blown storm conditions. They will have tested their bodies, minds, equipment and team dynamic to the absolute limit. Uniting Nations have clearly endured all these tests and are due to arrive in Hawaii as worthy winners and world record holders…
Team Pacific Rowers have no hesitation in congratulating Uniting Nations on what is an incredible accomplishment. Their record of 43 days, 5 hours and 30 minutes is solid, and is one that will stand until it topples to Team Pacific Rowers in 2016. Well done boys!
FROM NOMAN: Congratulations to the Uniting Nations team who are just moments from finishing the race and landing safely at Hawaii. What a fantastic effort, but we’re not too far behind! Under 400 nautical miles to go!
FROM CC4 PACIFIC: A big bravo to Uniting Nations Row for their splendid route and the amazing adventure they must have lived. Their very first swallow of Piña colada is very much in our thought…
MEANWHILE, out on the race course …
Although today we saw a big change in our leaderboard with our first team crossing the line, we could soon see another change in the leaderboard as Team Fat Chance Row has gained another 25 NM on Pacific Warriors. At this race, Fat Chance could pass them in as little as two days time. In the last 24 hours, Fat Chance has also logged our highest 24 hour mileage at an astonishing 71 NM in that period. Sami Inkinen gives us a little insight into what might be inspiring him to row so hard:
“– Naked lady in my rear view mirror Before we launched off, many asked about the rear view mirror on top of our wind vane. “What do you need that for? I guess rowers have back towards where you’re going”. I wasn’t sure either. I mean there’s ZERO traffic in the middle of the Pacific. Now the mirror has become my secret daily inspiration. Weather has gotten warmer, and warmer, and Meredith has started rowing totally naked (position 2, just behind my seat). Salty water has made the mirror almost useless, but it’s enough to get a view of my hot wife rowing naked. Little is needed to cheer me up, although, she is hot. I’m a lucky man.”
Team Boatylicious has also been receiving quite a few notes of inspiration recently. The Great Britain women’s rowing squad has reached out with video messages to our women rowers. Check out their facebook page to see and hear what Team GB rower Polly Swann has to say as well as Team GB Olympic Gold Medallists Helen Glover and Heather Stanning.
Today was a big day for the Great Pacific Race, but the race isn’t over yet! Stay tuned for more excitement from the Pacific and the shores of Hawaii.
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 1:00 pm PDT today
- Uniting Nations: FINISHED – 43 Days, 5 Hours, 30 Minutes
- Battleborn: ROWING – 142 NM to finish, Rowed 2173 NM
- NOMAN: ROWING – 382 NM to finish, Rowed 1952 NM
- Pacific Warriors: ROWING – 645 NM to finish, Rowed 1693 NM
- Fat Chance: ROWING – 669 NM to finish, Rowed 1760 NM
- Boatylicious: ROWING – 857 NM to finish, Rowed 1473 NM
- CC4 Pacific: ROWING – 1168 NM to finish, Rowed 1292 NM
Elsa Hammond: ROWING – New route to Mexico (destination TBC); Rowed 702 NM