Not just dots on a screen

Posted on June 22, 2016 in Fight the Kraken, General, Great Pacific Race 2016, Moana Uli, Ocean Hearts, Row Aloha, Sons of the Pacific, Uniting Nations

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 – Race Day 17

WEATHER: Over the next 48 hours the swell will virtually double in size for all crews, from 1-2 meters to 2-3 meters.  The five boats between longitude 130 degrees West and 125 degrees West will see some confused seas as the more typical NE swell pattern meets a series of waves from the SW.  Life onboard should improve once the SW swell pattern becomes established, but in general the further south and west the rowers can get, the smoother the ride. The wind will prevail as per the trades, with predominately 14-16 knots.  However there is a patch of 20 kts predicted for the days ahead.

Since Tina Neill stepped onto the support yacht following her shoulder injury, the four person team of Moana Uli has been a three person team.  The team’s plan was to continue to row their boat ‘Isabel’ with two rowers at all times.  This is a punishing regime, of 180 minutes (3 hours) rowing followed by 90 minutes (1 1/2 hours of rest). “We’ll set out with this schedule and see how it goes.” stated skipper Tim Spiteri.  The Australian, Irish and American trio have exceeded all expectations lasting more than a full week on this punishing regime. The team lost only 7nm on average per day, compared with Uniting Nations and Uniting Nations have an identical Sea-Sabre fours boat. This is in spite of having one fewer crew member.

Moana Uli have until now, been able to stay virtually the same distance ahead of third placed team Ocean Hearts. However, in the last 24 hours Ocean Hearts have shot ahead of Moana Uli. Ocean Hearts has two people onboard compared with three on Moana Uli, but their boat design is significantly different. Under certain conditions we would expect Ocean Hearts to be quicker.  Or perhaps Moana Uli have simply hit the wall after a really tough and physical period.  The Great Pacific Race is the World’s ultimate endurance challenge after all.

Whatever the cause of their success, the ladies of Team Ocean Hearts have been romping along!  As we speak, Pat Hines and Liz Dycus are rowing an impressive 3.5 knots in their rowing boat ‘Roosevelt.’  While the ladies’ progress has been outstanding, their row has not been without its challenges. The team have overcome steering issues with their autohelm system and have more recently patched up a few leaky compartments.  Thankfully, Liz Dycus (who ought to receive a special prize for her engineering prowess) has kept one step ahead of the problems and any message we receive about a problem, also details how Liz has been able to overcome the problem.  Incredible!  Everyone should have a Liz aboard and I’m sure several crews wish that they did.

Further to the north, Fight The Kraken seem to be bearing the brunt of all the adverse weather. We were relieved to hear that last night they still had their endearing sense of humor:  “We’re getting tossed around like a cheap cobb salad.” Vicki reported in over the satellite phone.

Row Aloha welcomed in today with a characteristically upbeat message “G’mornin’. A wee bit sloppy and damp, otherwise A_OK aboard Row Aloha.”  And Louis Bird from team Sons of the Pacific was thrilled to hear that none other than TV show ‘Good Morning America’ had featured him and Erden in a Father’s Day special news feature. “This is amazing! Such a morale boost!” texted Louis.  We are sure this won’t be the last time that Louis’ incredible story is covered by the media.

GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 4:00 pm PDT today
1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 1309 NM to finish, Rowed 960 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 1549 NM to finish, Rowed 823 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 1558 NM to finish, Rowed 736 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 1690 NM to finish, Rowed 665 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 1712 NM to finish, Rowed 628 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 1768 NM to finish, Rowed 543 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED