Over the last few days, the crews participating in this summer’s Great Pacific Race have been busily getting things organized, launching their boats and completing inversion tests or roll tests as we sometimes call them. A minimum of two inversion tests are completed per boat. The first is done without crew to prove that the boat is capable of self-righting in the event of a capsize. It is also important to test that the ballast on board is sufficient for the boat to pass the test without the crew needing to be on board. For the second test we load the crew into the cabins and roll the boat again! Whilst going for a monitored tumble in a controlled environment may seem like a lot of fun, gaining the first-hand experience of what it’s like to be upside-down in the unlikely event of a roll at sea is vital to reduce the chance of the crew panicking. It also helps to ensure they think clearly in the event of a roll. Crews can also see if any water gets into the cabin and identify where it is coming from. This is all part of the extensive scrutinizing processes that each boat and crew must go through in preparation for the Great Pacific Race. You can check out the videos from these tests on our Facebook page.
As you check out the videos you may notice that each boat looks quite different. Boats in the race come from three different boat builders. Endurance Limits, Endurance Limits USA and Ocean Hearts are in Open Class – Rannoch Adventure boats. Sons of the Pacific, Uniting Nations and Moana Uli are all in classic Sea Sabre boats, built by Justin Adkin who is here on-site during the preparation period. Row Aloha, Fight The Kraken and Origami Risk & Rewards: Row for Hemophilia are in older classic boats either built by Woodvale or from the Woodvale plywood kit which have then been built by others.
Not all the pre-race fun has been on the water. Several classes and clinics have been taking place on land. On Friday morning crews had a Navigation Clinic with our Safety Officer Lia Ditton. Topics covered included lessons learnt after assessing the waypoints that worked well for those who participated in the 2014 edition of the race, expected weather conditions and prevailing wind directions, a review of the weather reports which are sent to the teams and how to read them, as well as how to navigate the path to Hawaii. One of the challenges for all crews is the lack of a full navigation station but the crews were shown that by using a chart, a pencil and a small protractor they can adequately navigate the 2,800 miles to Hawaii.
Many lessons were learned during the pioneering race of 2014, especially the importance of getting off the Continental Shelf and into deeper waters. It will be interesting to watch how the 2016 edition of the race transpires and how the lessons learnt will be built on by the 2016 crews as they fight to get off the coast and into the trade winds that will help them to Hawaii. With any luck these lessons will result in us seeing many records broken during this edition of the race.
Race Director Chris Martin joined the talk at the end and gave some basic reminders that when crews wake up in the morning, to remember that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, same as the moon. This very basic check is a good one to be sure they are heading in the right direction!
The excitement continues to mount as another day is ticked off the calendar before the start of the Great Pacific Race 2016. Stay tuned!