Day 55 Race Report

Posted on August 4, 2014 in Battleborn, Boatylicious, CC4 Pacific, Crews, Elsa Hammond, Fat Chance, Great Pacific Race 2014, Jim Bauer’s Row for Hope, NOMAN, Project Flight Plan


LEAD BOAT: Winds from the ESE clocking to the E @ 14 to 21 knots. Seas from the ESE @ 7 feet / 12 seconds.
MIDDLE BOAT:  Winds from the E @ 13 to 19 knots. Seas from the SE moving to the S @ 7-8 feet / 12 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOAT:  Winds from the ENE @ 14 to 20 knots. Seas from the SE @ 8 feet / 11 seconds.

Here at Race Headquarters, on the shores of Waikiki, there are times when being in Monterey with our crews feels like a lifetime ago.  It is incredible for us to witness the changes that we can see in the teams that have arrived here thus far, and see the effect that rowing across an ocean has had on them. We have seen the substantial physical transformations and had some fun with our “before and after” photos. We said goodbye to boys and girls with shaved heads only to greet crews who were almost unrecognizable through their bearded faces and long, unwashed hair.

Then came Fat Chance Row.  We thought that their schedule of rowing together for 12+ (sometimes up to 18) hours a day, then taking six hours off to rest as rather extreme.  Today during their final scruitineering, we learned that they showered every day and were surprised to know that other crews were not doing the same. To see Sami and Meredith today, you would never have guessed they had arrived after rowing the Pacific less than 24 hours before. They had no tales of the sores we have heard from other teams.  Meredith had been using Oarsome grips on her oars and the only calluses she had were so small, they could have come from a row across a lake.

Other teams have been fascinated by their food, as they focussed on a high fat and protein diet almost entirely devoid of carbohydrates.  Sami and Meredith had some left over and donated some to the NOMAN crew so they could test it out.  We wait for news of how the food was received and compared with the freeze dried food NOMAN had experienced during their row.

NOMAN was here for Fat Chance’s arrival, and we have also received messages of congratulation from our teams still rowing. We received this note from CC4 Pacific:

“A big Bravo to Fat Chance Row who realized an impressive race arriving 4th in the competition even though they started on the 18th of July that is to say 9 days after the first start.  Christophe and Clément declared: ‘Congrats to team Fat chance! It’s funny how different our approach of this adventure was.  They had the newest boat, we had the oldest. They had 6 months of preparation, we prepared ourselves during 2 years. They had a no-sugar no-carbs diet on board while we had… well pleasure food full of sugar. Our rowing pattern: day on night off VS 2hours on/2 hours off. You drew a new style to make it happen!’”

And so our focus now shifts to the preparations ahead of the next crew due to arrive: Pacific Warriors. Around the time of tomorrows Race Report we anticipate that Pacific Warriors will drop below the 100 NM to go mark, increasing the frequency of their Yellowbrick updates, and also increasing the excitement here on the shore of Waikiki. Family and friends have already begun to arrive in anticipation of them crossing the finish line.

But the race isn’t over yet and there are some big challenges out there that our teams must overcome.  For Pacific Warriors, the closer they get to the islands, the warmer it gets, and the more water is needed to stay hydrated.  Like Uniting Nations, Pacific Warriors have a broken watermaker and have been using their manual watermaker unit to make the water potable.  This can be exhausting work, especially after 12 hours at the oars.

The other big challenge for the crews is the tropical storm we mentioned recently. ISELLE’s latest predicted course hooks around to the north (instead of the westerly course that it is currently following) and is actually due to run straight over the top of the Hawaiian Islands on Thursday / Friday.  This is most of a concern for the two crews closest to land as their predicted arrival date is only just before that of ISELLE.

Race Director Chris Martin has been keeping an extremely close eye on both the position of the row boats and ISELLE.

“With the recent change in predicted course for ISELLE we are now in frequent conversation with the crews to inform them about the latest information about ISELLE’s position and expected course.  At present the best option is for the crews to row fast and arrive into Waikiki as soon as possible but on the off chance it is required, we are also investigating other options including providing a tow with the Galen Diana (our support yacht in the area) or arriving at another (closer) island to keep our crews safe. We are continuously monitoring the situation and will do whatever is required to keep our rowers safe.”

CC4 Pacific won’t be uneffected by ISELLE, but as they will be significantly further away and the conditions that they will experience will be less severe.  Current predictions suggest that the maximum wind speeds they will experience will be 25-35kts of wind. Strong but manageable and they have already proven themselves and their boat (La Cigogne) in stronger conditions off the coast of California. We are confident that the cousins will be able to ride out the storm with their somewhat diminishing supply of wine. We have heard that our French cousins are “hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.”

MEANWHILE, back on shore …

After nearly two months at sea, Elsa Hammond / Elsa Hammond’s Pacific Solo Row, arrived safely in San Diego on the morning of Saturday 2nd August. As a testament to the family that has developed within these rowers in the Great Pacific Race, two other solo rowers who had also retired from the race, were there on the shores to greet Elsa upon her arrival back on shore. Both Mary Rose and Jim Bauer greeted her.

Elsa on land

Even more touching was the welcome she received from her fiance Steve, captured on video and we can hear Mary Rose’s voice in the background.

Welcome back Elsa!  It’s good to have you back on shore.

Also we have the following photos from the arrival parties at the airport for some members of team Battleborn who recently arrived home to a rapturous reception.

barry arrival philip arrival

Official Great Pacific Race Results found here.

Uniting Nations: FINISHED
Battleborn: FINISHED
Fat Chance: FINISHED
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – 146 NM to finish, Rowed 2195 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – 246 NM to finish, Rowed 2091 NM
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – 692 NM to finish, Rowed 1774 NM

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