WEATHER: Winds from the E @ 12 to 18 knots. Seas from the WSW @ 7 feet / 16 seconds.
It seems from the race tracker as though CC4 Pacific have started to stretch their legs. After being cooped up in the cabin for a few days they would have had a chance to rest and sleep a little more than they had previously so we could expect them to have some more energy to burn off but not this much. Perhaps the weather conditions are just right for surfing or they are trying a new rowing schedule or rowing with both of them more of the time. Whatever they are doing, it’s working. Before today their average speed (admittedly including the recent period on the parachute anchor) was 1.1kt but in the last 12 hours that speed has increased significantly to 2.6kt. This additional burst in speed has reduced their expected arrival time from August 30th to August 19th in a matter of hours! Impressive. We all hope that they are able to keep up this impressive turn of speed as they get closer to Hawaii.
As we continue to watch over CC4 Pacific, we would like to point out one of the most important safety features provided to the crews participating in the Great Pacific Race – our Support Boats.
In general terms, our support boats provide multiple duties. They act as an extension of support network on the water for the crews rowing whilst also photographing and filming crews whilst they are racing. These vessels travel up an down the fleet, visiting row boat after row boat, sometimes in the light of day and sometimes in the middle of the night. Of course part of rowing an ocean is to get away from human contact and have an adventure but even then each time one of our support boats checks in on one of the crews, the rowers have expressed how reassuring it was to see another vessel that was specifically out looking for them and a friendly face. It also helps family members of those racing feel relaxed when they know that there are these guardian angels looking over them.
Certain events or situations may mean that a support yacht will be diverted from its routine visits and force it to head straight for a particular crew. Our network of support yachts visited each crew on multiple occasions and we are looking at ways to improve this even further in future years.
When on a routine visit, the support boat made contact with the various crews, they would chat with them a bit, and verbally collect as much information from the rowers as possible, such as any equipment failures or fixes, get a sense of how they were coping on a personal level and if they were nursing any injuries and assess their state of mind. Although it may have seemed as though the support team was just offering moral support, they do have a list of specific questions and data to ask about as a check in as they seemingly are just cruising by to offer moral sport. Sometimes the support boat would meet a crew at night, but the same conversation would ensue, although a visual checks were obviously limited due to the darkness of night. All of the information collected is documented and reported back to the race office for additional evaluation and assessment.
At the beginning of the race, when boats were clustered together a bit more, our support boats were kept quite busy going from boat to boat as the issues that each crew had were ironed out. As teams got into their rhythm of rowing and living at sea and the fleet started to spread out, visits from the supports boats became less frequent.
Each of these support vessels were outfitted with many of the latest safety, navigation and tracking equipment. Satellite communications were installed on each boat and the affectionately named “data dome” allowed the support boats to send back images and video back from the sea and have conversations with the race office so any potential problems or issues could be discussed. Our support boats also carry a variety of supplies and spares in the event of terminal failure offering peace of mind to the rowers especially those who were on their last pair of oars or who were running out of various medical supplies, they even carry spare tracking beacons which came in handy for Pacific Warriors after their unit broke after being smashed against the cabin roof by a wave.
By having these support vessels on standby some rowers may decide not to fully prepare for the challenge and take old or tired equipment with the consideration that if it breaks that they can simply ask the support yacht for a spare. This is why for the rowers, there is a price to pay in having these well equipped vessels at their beck and call. If a team received any item from one of the support boats – from an oar to an aspirin – it is considered outside assistance and the team would be disqualified from the race. This is a high price to pay but forces crews to prepare fully for the challenge and we have seen on the boats that have arrived here in Waikiki that teams have become quite creative and crafty in making any necessary repairs to their boats, instead of having to actually accept outside assistance. Of course there are times when serious action is required of our Support Boats for example the need to pick up a crew member and tow the boat to safe harbor.
In later reports we will share some of the individual stories from our support boats and the adventures they are having during the Great Pacific Race. The safety of the rowers and all of the teams in the Great Pacific Race is our first priority. These support boats are just one of the many safety features that rowers received when they participate in the race.
If you are interested in learning more about how to participate in the 2016 edition of the Great Pacific Race, CLICK HERE for more information.
Official Great Pacific Race Results found here.