Two Weeks Closer to Hawaii

Posted on June 19, 2016 in General, Great Pacific Race 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016 – Race Day 14

WEATHER: Three hundred and ninety-two nautical miles now lies between race front runner Uniting Nations and the girls on Fight The Kraken. With the fleet spread out over 240 miles latitude, from 31 to 28 degrees North and 360 miles longitude, from 131 to 125 degrees West, the weather for each team will vary accordingly. Rowing boats to the west will remain in lighter airs for longer than those to the east as the Pacific high reestablishes itself and the trade winds resume. As team Row Aloha said in a text this morning, “the air conditioner is back on.” For the next 24 hours teams can expect a clement 10-15 in the west and 15-20kts of wind in the east.

It has been two weeks at sea now for the crews participating in the 2016 Great Pacific Race.  Crews have been through a lot.  Those of us watching and reading along from our armchairs have also been through a lot with them!

Two weeks ago, on an overcast evening in the Bay of Monterey, eight teams ventured out to cross the Pacific.  Team Uniting Nations Row was strong off the line and quickly made their way to the front of the fleet.  They have stayed at the front of the fleet ever since.

Teams rowed hard to “fall” off the continental shelf, and avoided massive underwater mountain chains.  They made it quickly into the much deeper and bluer waters on the other side of the shelf.  We could all feel their excitement when they reported in whales, dolphins, more whales and other ocean sea life.  Everything was like a giant water park – with a lot of rowing involved of course.

Then the weather turned and the seas got rough. Reports changed from the fascinating wildlife to the wild ride that teams were having and how some team members really wanted to get off that ride due to seasickness.  Some crews were sicker than others and we saw the powerhouse team of Endurance Limits making the difficult decision to retire from the race after illness and boat issues made it extremely difficult for them to make it to Hawaii.

Injuries happened by accident and we had a US Coast Guard rescue as well as our support boat evacuate a team member.  We received more and more reports of repairs and maintenance to fix bits and bobs on board the boats.  They have experienced icy cold temperatures and some strong sun (but much more sun is to come).  They have had flat calm and glassy seas as well as towering waves and high winds.  They have seen fog and blue skies. They have crossed busy shipping lanes and spent many, many hours with nothing at all to see, sometimes not even the horizon.

Their hands will have started to blister and perhaps have a few calluses. Keeping themselves dry under their clothing is very important as these are the days when a little sore can fester in the salt water into something nasty if left unattended.  As Dr Aenor Sawyer – our race doctor and specialist Orthopedist says – “the solution to pollution is dilution!” Wash it and watch it. Cleanliness is key.

Now as we are about to head into week three of the race, we are receiving reports from teams that life on board has become ‘normal’ for the rowers. They row, eat, sleep, and then repeat.  This is the only life they know at the moment, with a daily joke or two sent their way for amusement. And a simple joke on board an ocean rowing boat can actually provide hours of entertainment.

Practice and experience count for less now as teams have to unite, mentally focus, and stick to their routine – row, eat, sleep, and then repeat.  We repeat that here as that is really all they are doing – so again, wake up, row, eat, sleep, then repeat.

Time flies for us in our armchairs, but it moves much slower for our ocean rowers.  Two weeks have gone by quickly for us here at Race Headquarters. And we are looking forward to heading down to Hawaii to meet the rowers after they have completed their journey across the mighty Pacific.

1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 1482 NM to finish, Rowed 785 NM
2 Moana Uli: ROWING – 1704 NM to finish, Rowed 581 NM
3 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 1711 NM to finish, Rowed 636 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 1811 NM to finish, Rowed 523 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 1820 NM to finish, Rowed 506 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 1855 NM to finish, Rowed 422 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED