Day 50 Race Report

Posted on July 30, 2014 in Battleborn, Boatylicious, CC4 Pacific, Crews, Fat Chance, Great Pacific Race 2014, NOMAN, Pacific Warriors


LEAD BOATS:  Winds from the E clocking to the ENE @ 9 to 16 knots.  Seas from the SSW @ 4 feet / 15 seconds.
MIDDLE BOATS:   Winds from the ENE @ 10 to 15 knots.  Seas from the ESE @ 6 feet / 8 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOATS:  Winds from the ENE @ 11 to 15 knots.  Seas from the ESE moving to the SW @ 5 feet / 7 to 16 seconds.

At 10:17 HST today, Team NOMAN became the third boat to cross the finish line of the Great Pacific Race.  The four man team of  Jack Carter, Nick Kempster, Chris Blacketer, and Mark Gleeson completed the crossing on board the vessel Isabel and have a preliminary race time of in 50 days, 3 hours and 17 minutes.  Official results for all teams will be posted on the Results Page after post race boat checks have been completed.

These four university friends who met whilst studying at Exeter University in England, started the race all aged 24 years old have established a world record as the youngest crew to ever row the Pacific Ocean from East to West – Mid Pacific Route (California to Hawaii)

Family and friends from the UK thronged around the foursome as they arrived in Waikiki until the dock started to sink.  All crew members from Team Battleborn were also on hand to see the rowing friends they had not seen since leaving the shores of Monterey, California on June 9th, 50 days ago.

Upon arriving, Chris Blacketer said of their journey, “each day our hands got a little more blistered and our stomachs decreased in size, (which was definitely a good thing looking at some of the pre-departure photos). But the worst aspect by far was the pain in our backsides. Spending pretty much 24 hours a day either sitting or lying on them, meant we were all on a constant stream of painkillers just to get through the days and be able to sit down as we were just so blistered and raw.”

Race Director Chris Martin remarked “It is remarkable to see these young adventurers arrive in the beautiful islands of Hawaii after the expedition of a lifetime.  As one of the few crews who knew each other before deciding to row the Pacific it is so special to see how this experience has deepened their friendship.  I was so happy to introduce the newly formed crew to the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, and NOMAN and suggest that they work together to not only raise funds for the charity but also raise awareness of the vaccine that can prevent 5% of all cancer.”

The foursome met at university but have spent more than a year preparing and almost two months living aboard their 24 foot ocean rowing boat, Isabel, crossing the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean using no motor or sails, just sheer physical and mental determination. The boys took turns to man the oars with pairs rowing in 2 hour shifts over the course of 50 days.

During the course of their journey, Team NOMAN set out to raise awareness of HPV and funds for the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation by competing as a classic four in the Great Pacific Race. They have so far attracted over £36,000 (approx. $60,000 USD) via the charity’s NOMAN Campaign arm, which challenges participants to complete extreme endurance events to raise awareness of HPV, the carcinogenic virus which causes 5% of cancer worldwide and yet is entirely preventable by a vaccination.

They had originally hoped to complete the challenge within 40 days but even before their start they had to overcome the challenge of a broken watermaker which delayed their departure by 2 days, 10 hours and 49 minutes.  The team worked through the night to fit a new unit allowing them to depart as soon as possible before the weather window closed.  They quickly rowed their way towards the front of the fleet, seemingly unaffected by bad weather and un-favourable winds which threatened to push them south.  While other teams in the race struggled to get away from the California coast, Team NOMAN showed their physical strength and a team by pushing through the bad conditions.

Mark Gleeson said: “after spending nearly 8 weeks in a world less than 24ft in length, Hawaii seems impossibly large. We’re in a lot of pain, and have been for a few weeks now. We are barely able to sit, let alone stand, but everyone is so proud of one another.”

Nick Kempster added: “this challenge has been immense and at times it felt like we might not be able to complete it, but everyone’s support and messages (ranging from the outright funny, to those who merely thought they were funny) as well as our ultimate aim of raising awareness of HPV, have kept us going even when we didn’t think we could give anymore. Somehow we always found the strength to keep rowing.” “We’ve put ourselves through this for a worthy cause, and if we can make a difference in the pain in our backsides will be worth it!”

Justine Almada, co-founder of The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, reinforced the importance of this by stating: “the goal is to see universal vaccination for girls and boys so that we can eliminate 5% of cancer. Such a target might seem massive, but it is eminently obtainable.  Just as the team’s incredible voyage has proved.”

Additionally, David Winterflood, campaign spokesperson, was full of praise for the team’s efforts: “many would have been put off just by the hours of training the guys put in, let alone the enormity of the race itself. Their efforts have been phenomenal and are testament to what you can accomplish with a little fire in your belly and a truly great cause at your back.”

Once on shore, before this hearty crew could sit down to a much anticipated meal of pizza, burgers and fresh fruit, they underwent our standard medical screening which including taking the weight of each crew.  Overall, the team had weighed in prior to the race as the heaviest crew of all of our teams at over 900 lbs.  Mark Gleeson (a rowing coach in London) was the heaviest race entrant and in Monterey was 116.5 kg.  Today after rowing the Pacific, he had lost a stunning 15.3 kg (just shy of 34 lbs).

The other striking feature of this team is their beards!  Skipper Nick Kemster started growing his “adventure beard” in January of this year.  When asked if they would shave, the crew said ABSOLUTELY!!!

We congratulate Team NOMAN for completing the Great Pacific Race!

Official Great Pacific Race Results found here.

  1. Uniting Nations: FINISHED
  2. Battleborn: FINISHED
  4. Fat Chance: ROWING – 263 NM to finish, Rowed 2172 NM
  5. Pacific Warriors: ROWING – 339 NM to finish, Rowed 1997 NM
  6. Boatylicious: ROWING – 532 NM to finish, Rowed 1805 NM
  7. CC4 Pacific: ROWING – 891 NM to finish, Rowed 1575 NM

Elsa Hammond: ROWING – New route to Mexico (destination TBC); Rowed 758 NM

Pacific Rowers: Retired
Row for Hope: Retired
Rowing 4 Reefs: Retired
Clearly Contacts CA: Withdrawn
Project Flight Plan: Withdrawn