PACIFIC WARRIORS ARE THE FIRST MIXED TEAM ACROSS THE LINE OF THE GREAT PACIFIC RACE
LEAD BOAT: 20-25kt NE increasing to gale force later. Seas 14-18ft – Tropical Storm Warning (ISELLE)
BACK OF THE FLEET BOAT: 14-22kt ENE. Seas 7-14ft seas
This morning at approximately 10:00 am, Duncan Tebb (skipper), Matt Lasky, John Wagner and Susannah Cass arrived at the dock of Waikiki Harbor after completing their crossing of the Pacific Ocean as team Pacific Warriors. With three males and one female on board, this is the first mixed team to row the Pacific Ocean, which qualifies them for a new world first. They are the fifth team to finish the Great Pacific Race. The boat is called Limited Intelligence, but don’t let that name fool you. These crew members were some pretty smart cookies!
Given the impending arrival of hurricane ISELLE to the Hawaiian islands, Race Director Chris Martin took the unprecedented safety decision to move the finish line for the team so that they would arrive on land prior to hurricane ISELLE arriving at Hawaii. This meant that Pacific Warriors completed the race prior to accepting a tow from the Support Yacht Galen Diana. At 12:45 on Tuesday, August 5th 2014, Limited Intelligence was met by the Galen Diana and the crew were transferred on board while their ocean row boat was towed behind.
It was skipper Tebb who took the call from Race Director Chris Martin regarding the mandated tow due to the impending hurricane. The option was discussed with the crew and they were actually divided regarding the decision on whether or not to take the tow. At the time of the call, some of those on board believed they would be able to row all the way to shore. However, that was only if conditions did not alter from what they knew had been predicted. Tebb ultimately made the call and accepted the tow. “If things turned at any point from that moment on, the possibility of getting a tow would have greatly decreased, so I made the decision on behalf of the split crew.”The process of transferring crew from one boat to another is not simple even in calm seas. Doing this when drawing near to the channel between Molokai and O’ahu and with an approaching storm it can be very difficult indeed. Each crew member swam across to minimize the chance for damage caused as the waves could push the boats together damaging both. When one rower showed signs of being understandably uncomfortable at this maneuver, Captain Rod Mayer (previously an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard for 7 years) jumped in to swim over and bring them aboard safely.
Crewmate Susanna Cass said she was relieved knowing that the decision was somewhat out of their hands as the weather conditions were ultimately making the decision for them. The four crew members were brought on board as their boat was towed. While on the Galen Diana, they received a welcome of Mai Tai soaked pineapple. Once on shore, Cass stated that it would have been nice if the first time they had stepped off the boat it would have been onto land, but the hospitality on board was a wonderful welcome.
The aim had been to only provide Limited Intelligence with a short tow but as the wind speeds picked up in the Molokai Channel to over 40 knots, the decision was made to extend the tow further than the originally anticipated 50 nautical miles and bring Pacific Warriors into Waikiki. As they rounded Diamond Head it was clear that to attempt another transfer in darkness and high winds was unsafe. Therefore, the tow continued along the south coast of O’ahu returning to Diamond Head early in the morning when the winds had lightened.
Within sight of Waikiki beach the crew swam back to Limited Intelligence. They were relatively close to the Ala Wai Marina where they rowed in and were greeted by family, friends and supporters.
Back on shore, even though this team faced some extremely difficult decisions at the end of their 58 days at sea, they still arrived as a united team. The bonds between the four crew members were clear and strong. After receiving a warm Hawaiian welcome, the crew did their official weigh in. Overall, they lost more than 45 kilos during their crossing. This significant weight loss may have been caused by the fact that in addition to rowing for the majority of trip, they also had to use their hand pump to make drinking water after the 14th day of their 58 day crossing. That fourteenth day was etched clearly on the team members memories, as this was the day they said the game changed for them. From that point on, the crew constantly had to weigh the energy it would take to make water versus the task that water was to be used for. John Wagner stated:
“I ended up with more salt sores on my legs because I would rather use the fresh water that had been pumped for drinking rather than for washing.”
The importance of proper hydration was their first priority when it came to making water. Showers, clean clothes and bodies, and just splashing their faces to rinse off the salt that ended up caked onto their skin all took a back seat to their thirst. There were many, many glasses of ice cold water handed to them upon their arrival, which were received by huge smiles and consumed quickly!
The Pacific Warriors had the greatest number of supporters, family and friends on the shores to greet them. Parents in particular looked the most relieved to have this crew back on shore. We commend them on the decisions they had to make in order to have a safe and successful crossing.
CONGRATULATIONS PACIFIC WARRIORS
Official Great Pacific Race Results found here.
Uniting Nations: FINISHED
Fat Chance: FINISHED
Pacific Warriors: FINISHED
Boatylicious: ROWING – 63 NM to finish, Rowed 2277 NM
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – 587 NM to finish, Rowed 1882 NM