After 59 days, 7 hours and 14 minutes after the start of the race, the all woman crew of Team Boatylicious crossed the finish line of the Great Pacific Race. The ladies are the sixth team to complete this inaugeral race and are the first all four female team to row the Pacific Ocean. Aoife also becomes the first Irish woman to row the Pacific.
The team of Ingrid Kvale (America), Aoife Ni Mhaoileoin (Ireland), Emily Blagden (Great Britain) and Amanda Challans (Great Britain) were under a lot of pressure to finish the race as the winds caused by Hurricane Iselle were due to significantly increase shortly before their anticipated arrival. As a precautionary measure, the support yacht Galen Diana was dispatched at 04:30 this morning to provide the girls with a full escort, and offer a tow if the weather turned.
There were several moments throughout the morning and early afternoon that we thought that the team may need to take a tow as we could see a wall of cloud and rain gradually gaining steadily behind the rowers. Forecasts had predicted winds of 16-24kt building rapidly after lunchtime but after witnessing sustained 30kt winds before noon there was some concern that if conditions escalated rapidly then the support yacht would struggle to assist without risking damage to both boats. Every time they were set a progress target they exceeded it and were rewarded for all their hard work of powering through the bouncy conditions of the channel between Molokai and O’ahu and being able to row all the way across the finish line at Diamond Head.
However, their struggle was not over yet as they (like all our teams) had an additional 3 nautical miles to row before reaching the Waikiki Yacht Club and members of their friends and family from all over the world. Offshore winds were beginning to build stronger and starting to push the girls further and further out to sea. When they were only one nautical mile from their final destination the wind actually started to push them further and further from the shore. In sheer desperation and with a cast iron will not to accept a tow, Team Boatylicious started to call out power sets of strokes to break through the winds. This is where one crew member will count and the rowers will power row for the determined number of strokes. Usually this is 10 or maybe 20. Not for these girls who had just rowed an ocean, they started with a power 50, and then again, and then a third time. Even this was not quite enough. They just had to make it past the area where winds were being funneled by the buildings of Honolulu and so Aoife called for a power of 100! With Ingrid and Amanda at the oars and without even hesitating, they powered through the whole 100 strokes. It was an incredible effort and it worked. Soon they were in the calmer and protected lagoon that lead to the harbor.
Along the shores of the lagoon, friends and family were gathered along the way. Cheers and waves welcomed the girls all the way into the harbor, where they lit flares to officially announce their arrival.
The team, who during their trip had crafted cocktails on board from various energy drinks and supplements they had on board, were very much looking forward to real Mai Tais and ice cold water. Burgers, fruit and ice cream sundaes quickly followed and were quickly consumed rapidly, then the girls had to head back to their boat to collect various personal items from it before Hurricane ISELLE built in strength any further. Pacific Warriors were on hand to greet the Boatylicious girls. It was a grand reunion for several of our Great Pacific Race Rowers.
With the pending storm, final scruitineering will have to wait until the storm passes. We are sure the girls will enjoy riding out this storm from the comfort and protection of their hotel rooms, instead of the small cabin of the Black Oyster.
CONGRATULATIONS TEAM BOATYLICIOUS
We should also make a note today about CC4 Pacific who are currently 570nm from the shores of O’ahu. They reported yesterday that they were sat in great rowing conditions and frustrated that they couldn’t continue to row. CC4 have recently deployed their parachute anchor to prevent them from continuing to row towards the path of ISELLE and JULIO. This is why their tracking beacon hasn’t moved in the last few days. With one hurricane having passed them recently (ISELLE) they now await the arrival of the second (JULIO) which will pass closest to their position on Friday evening / Saturday morning. Estimated conditions remain similar to previous reports at 35kt sustained winds and 20ft seas. No doubt this will be a bouncy ride but we believe they will remain safe and look forwards to seeing them come off the parachute anchor with renewed vigor and speed as they swap the cabin for the oars late on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning.
Official Great Pacific Race Results found here.
Uniting Nations: FINISHED
Fat Chance: FINISHED
Pacific Warriors: FINISHED
Boatylicious: ROWING – 124 NM to finish, Rowed 2215 NM
CC4 Pacific: ROWING – 605 NM to finish, Rowed 1862 NM