ISELLE and JULIO ARE STILL ON THE RADAR
Today’s cover image was taken from our support yacht Cloud Nine shortly before they picked up Elsa Hammond.
LEAD BOAT: Winds from the ENE clocking to the E @ 13 to 20 knots. Seas from the E @ 7 feet / 8-9 seconds.
MIDDLE BOAT: Winds from the ENE @ 12 to 18 knots. Seas from the E moving to the ESE @ 7 feet / 9-11 seconds.
BACK OF THE FLEET BOAT: Winds from the ENE @ 18 to 26 knots. Seas from the ESE moving to the SE @ 9-12 feet / 10-14 seconds.
Each of our three remaining teams, are in unique situations and there are rapid developments in the next 48 hours. We are still on intensive weather watch here at Race Headquarters, constantly checking the forecasts and keeping crews abreast of the situation.
With over 600 NM of ocean between then and Hawaii, CC4 are the furthest away from the tropical storms and hurricanes that are currently on their way to the islands. Both ISELLE and JULIO will pass to the south of our French cousins. Starting on about Wednesday of this week, conditions will continue to get rough for La Cigogne and she will be tossed about a fair bit with large swells and around 25-30 knots. ISELLE will pass by La Cigogne’s longitude on Thursday or Friday of this week and JULIO will pass by on Friday or Saturday. These are conditions that the team has seen before and knows how to cope but the weather is going to get very rough for about a week. However, in order to keep them as far away as possible from these storms we have suggested that they deploy the para-anchor now which will halt their forward progress but ensure that they stay out of the way of these elevated conditions. So if you see them slow down or stop for a few days, don’t panic, this is actually a good thing. We anticipate that by Saturday evening the worst of the weather will be behind them and they can then continue on in making progress toward Hawaii.
The shore team for Team Boatylicious posted yesterday:
“No one said rowing the Pacific would be easy but we certainly didn’t expect a sprint finish! The Boatylicious girls are now battling hard to row as fast as they can to reach Hawaii before Hurricane Iselle … for the moment let’s just send them lots of speedy thoughts and hope they can reach land by their own power before the storm hits!”
We know that the girls are rowing their hardest right now and rowed an impressive 64 NM in the last 24 hours. As of this writing they had 124 NM to go to reach the finish and so we expect them to arrive inside of 48 hours. Team Boatylicious is a bit further from the finish than the Pacific Warriors and are a bit further to the south. One option to avoid the wrath of ISELLE could have been for the girls to row to the island of Maui and yesterday this was a very realistic consideration. However the girls have been able to make outstanding progress recently and today’s forecasts indicating that ISELLE has slowed slightly and thus will arrive slightly later at Hawaii than previously anticipated, has bought the all female quartet some more time. In their smaller boat their average speed has been almost double that of the Pacific Warriors and critically they appear more able to make a good course and good speed. The current plan A is to allow the girls to continue to row in, however our support yacht will remain on standby for the girls and jump in to provide support if needed.
As the ISELLE has got ever closer we have had to make some very difficult decisions to ensure the safety of our crews. We would much rather make a tough call early to ensure the safety of our crews rather than delay making a decision and risk their lives just to satisfy their internal lust to be self dependent. Pacific Warriors speed and ability to make headway has been less than we felt would be required to ensure that they could arrive in Waikiki comfortably before ISELLE.
With this in mind, one of our support vessels, the Galen Diana arrived with the Pacific Warriors in the early hours of this morning, transferred the crew to the yacht and took the Limited Intelligence under tow. This is a safety measure that has been mandated by us (as Race Organizers) and accepted by the crew as a safety measure. They will be towed to a point (that has yet to be determined) before putting the crew back onto Limited Intelligence and allowing them to complete the rest of the row under their own oar power. This will allow the team to independently row across the finish line and row into shore where they will be greeted by friends and family and receive the hero’s welcome that is so richly deserved.
In one of the discussions with John Wagner of Pacific Warriors he was asked how it was going in their efforts to make it to the finish line. He replied:
“Right, use your imagination how bad an Olympic athlete wants gold. Working harder than a slave.”
We expect that you have a few questions about this unusual set of circumstances and so aim to answer them in the Q&A below.
Q – If they don’t row all the way, have they rowed an ocean?
A – Absolutely. They have rowed more than 2,200nm of open ocean. At the time they took the tow the crew were able to see the island of Molokai less than 30nm away. There is a precedent for ocean rowers who accept short tows towards the end of their journey to be considered as having rowed an ocean. The decision of what does and what does not count as an ocean row is adjudicated by the Ocean Rowing Society International. (ORSI)
Q – What about records?
A – Speed records for oceans must be land to land without tow but as Pacific Warriors are not the fastest four to complete the route then this is a mute point. We still believe that the Pacific Warriors could lay claim to being the first mixed four to row the Pacific for this route but as Guinness World Record adjudicators this decision would be down to the ORSI.
Q – What about their position in the race?
A – We have taken the decision to move the finish of the race for Pacific Warriors to the point at which they accepted the tow. Given that this decision was mandated by us on grounds of safety it is unfair to disqualify them for this. Official race results will only be posted after the boat and crew have completed post race scrutineering.
We look forward to welcoming the Pacific Warriors to shore tomorrow, followed shortly thereafter by Team Boatylicious.
MEANWHILE back on shore …
We have had much discussion about the differences in the various boats. We were extremely pleased to receive the following note from Charlie Pitcher of Rannoch.
“It is so exciting when one of our boats comes in from an epic row. Each time a new jockey takes charge, we hope to engage with them to help them achieve their goal. Sami and Meredith have done an outstanding job and have understood the nature of their quest right from the start. I am so impressed in the way they have fast tracked all the basic knowledge to get to the start of the first Great Pacific Race. These guys seemed so well prepared that it didn’t surprise me when they absolutely smashed it, infact I am in awe of their athletic performance and take my hat off to them.”
“Sami and Meredith rowed our standard Rannoch Pairs boat hull # 04 which had just won the previous Atlantic Rowing Race. A well prepared crew with the right equipment is a winning combination. Good luck to them in the future.”
Official Great Pacific Race Results found here.
Uniting Nations: FINISHED
Fat Chance: FINISHED
Pacific Warriors: UNDER TOW – 75 NM to finish, Rowed 2269 NM
Boatylicious: ROWING – 124 NM to finish, Rowed 2215 NM
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – 605 NM to finish, Rowed 1862 NM