A NEW ELEMENT TO THE GREAT PACIFIC RACE
LEAD BOAT: Winds from the E @15 to 21 knots. Seas from the ESE @ 7-8 feet / 9 seconds.
MIDDLE BOAT: Winds from the E @ 15 to 20 knots. Seas from the ESE @ 8 feet / 9 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOAT: Winds from the ENE @ 15 to 20 knots. Seas from the S moving to the ESE @ 8 feet / 11-12 seconds.
Our teams of Pacific Warriors and Team Boatylicious have a new challenge to deal with. Her name is ISELLE and she is fierce competitor. For our two teams that are so very close to Hawaii, it is now a race against time as they must reach land before ISELLE, which now appears to be on a direct path to the Hawaiian Islands. Right on the heels of ISELLE is her younger brother, Tropical Storm JULIO. As of this writing, Pacific Warriors have 111 NM to go and Team Boatylicious has 187 NM to go. Their current expected arrivals are between Wednesday and Thursday, August 7th and 8th. ISELLE is expected to hit the islands on Thursday August 8th but pushes strong winds and huge seas ahead of it.
We can not stress enough that the safety of our crew is our first priority. Our shore teams are monitoring the weather conditions around the clock and we have expert weather routers also providing us with information regarding tracking the storms and the conditions that may be expected. We are frequently in touch with the crews, providing them with updates, advising and encouraging them. We have also been in touch with the US Coast Guard as a precautionary measure to alert them to the situation. As much as we would like to have our crews complete the race on their own, we stand prepared to assist physically if necessary in a timely manner. Better for crews to arrive two days early than one day late. Be certain that we chat frequently with all our teams to keep them up to date with the latest situation.
There are a few things to remember when looking at various weather forecasts. There are a number of different forecasting models that are used to determine the expected storm track. Furthermore, the resolution of some ocean forecasting tools are not high enough to allow the real strength of hurricane winds to be shown. Storm tracks can vary and this is why you will see a “cone” area usually depicted in forecasts. Most weather predictors will use a 1-3 day prediction which is a bit more accurate and defined, as well as a 4-5 day prediction. According to NOAA:
“Historical data indicate that the entire 5-day path of the center of the tropical cyclone will remain within the cone about 60-70% of the time. To form the cone, a set of imaginary circles are placed along the forecast track at the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hour positions, where the size of each circle is set so that it encloses 67% of the previous five years official forecast errors. The cone is then formed by smoothly connecting the area swept out by the set of circles.”
However in this situation the various models all agree on the storm track and so that gives us a greater level of confidence when making weather assessments.
NOAA categorises storms based on their maximum wind speeds:
- Tropical Depression – wind speed less than 39 MPH
- Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH
- Hurricane – wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH
- Major Hurricane – wind speed greater than 110 MPH
If you are tracking the race on the Yellowbrick tracker, there is a wind overly on the map page. On this you will see two red sections which are these two storms. However, the resolution of the winds shown is not sufficiently high to show the strongest winds that will be experienced close to the centre of the storm. At the time of this writing, this is NOAA’s report on Hurricane ISELLE:
“Major Hurricane Iselle centered near 16.1N 137.4W AT 04/2100 UTC moving West or 270 degrees at 9 KT. Estimated minimum central pressure is 947 MB. ISELLE is a category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Maximum sustained wind speed is 120 KT with gusts to 145 KT. … Given the strong winds and modest forward speed of ISELLE … seas are estimated to be near 40 in the North central portion of the storm. The official intensity forecast calls for ISELLE to maintain hurricane status through Tuesday across the forecast area. ISELLE is forecast to cross 140W late Tuesday.”
“Tropical Storm JULIO is centered near 13.5N 121.6W AT 04/2100 UTC or about 873 NM SW off the southern tip of Baja California moving west or 270 DEGREES at 14 KT. Estimated central pressure is 1000 MB. Maximum sustained wind speed is 50 KT with gusts to
60 KT. … T.S. JULIO is forecast to intensify further to Hurricane strength by Tuesday night into Wednesday morning as it moves West across the forecast area.”
As these storms develop, we will update our crews and our website with any necessary news. For now, our crews continue to pull hard on the oars to reach land before these weather systems hit. Please send them messages of encouragement to keep rowing hard and fast to the shores of Waikiki.
Official Great Pacific Race Results found here.
Uniting Nations: FINISHED
Fat Chance: FINISHED
Pacific Warriors: ROWING – 111 NM to finish, Rowed 2232 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – 187 NM to finish, Rowed 2151 NM
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – 646 NM to finish, Rowed 1821 NM