Tuesday, May 31st was the most exciting day thus far as we prepare for the start of the Great Pacific Race. Crews were up very early gathering in front of the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club at 5am. As the sky slowly brightened with the rising sun, teams headed out into the fog hanging around a unusually still Monterey Bay for the 6am start of the Great Pacific Prologue Race.
The start of the race was from a line between the radio mast on McAbee beach and Marine Layer, the Great Pacific Race support rib. This will be the same line for the official start which is scheduled for Saturday, June 4. Two courses were laid out for the Prologue Race depending on the number of rowers in the crew. Pairs teams headed off on an there-and-back route while the teams of four had an extra mark to row around creating a triangular course. Just after 6am, the horn was sounded and the crews were off! You can watch a video of the start here.
As well as a race of speed around the markers, the teams also had to perform a set list of tasks during their time at sea. Some of these tasks included plotting their position, creating a days water ration their watermakers and cooking a meal or boiling water while at sea. There were also some practical exercises that teams had to perform such as deploying a Para-Anchor and deploying a drogue while under the watchful eye of one of the Great Pacific Race support crews. Videos can be seen on the New Ocean Wave Facebook page. Two support boats were on station during the race – the Galen Diana which was also a support boat during the 2014 edition of the race, and Nomad who have joined the fleet of support vessels this year.
The day was not without incident. During the drogue and para-anchor drills, lines got tangled generating a pile of rope spaghetti. Eventually though everyone was able to demonstrate deployment and recovery of these drag devices which are some of the key safety devices onboard each row boat. Having deployed them once or twice the kinks have been ironed out and should be swifter to deploy if needed during the race. The Monterey fog also generated its own navigational challenge as visibility was very low and land disappeared into the white clouds enveloping the boats.
In the early afternoon, the lead teams started to near the start/finish line off McAbee beach. The lead boat from the pairs group, Endurance Limits USA, was nearing the line at the same time as the fours team of Endurance Limits. The boats were literally neck and neck as they rowed toward the finish. Both boats are Rannoch built, but the advantage laid with the fours with three rowing seats to gain greater power (albeit for short periods). Endurance Limits added an extra rower after rowing with two for most of the race and pulled across the finish line at 13:56:50, with the pairs team in Endurance Limits USA crossing at 13:58:00. CONGRATULATION to both teams for a tremendous day on the water and a photo finish!
Teams are now sussing out any issues they may have discovered on board during this day long race, and are finalizing their scrutineering process. Fight the Kraken has been the first team to fully complete this process, and they are ready to get on the Pacific and truly fight the Kraken!
Stay tuned as the countdown to the race start continues.