Pizza Bum & Tropical Storm Agatha

Posted on July 2, 2016 in General, Great Pacific Race 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016 – Race Day 28

WEATHER: The wind looks to be consistently 20 knots, with a NE swell through the weekend.  On Monday the wind is forecast to start dropping below 20 knots with the wave pattern becoming less organised, as both wind and waves become driven by the storm approaching from the SE. 

STORM WATCH: The tropical depression off the coast of Mexico, which we informed you about yesterday officially became a named storm this morning. Tropical Storm Agatha is the first tropical storm to form in the eastern Pacific basin since 1969.  Agatha is expected to maintain strength over the open waters of the eastern Pacific before diminishing in intensity on Monday into Tuesday. The projected path follows an arc E and S of all rowers and below the latitude of Hawaii. Our teams will feel an effect later on next week, with wave height increasing, and 20-30 knot winds – nothing they haven’t experienced already. 

Another low pressure system is centered 600 miles south-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. This disturbance is also showing signs of becoming better organized and it’s possible that it develops into a tropical storm also. We will be watching carefully. 

In this next part of today’s report, we will discuss a situation that many, if not all, of our rowers will experience during their crossing. Sore Bums. Each of our teams has remarked about having what can be known as Gunwale Bum. It is a rash on the rump caused by spending too much time in damp or wet gear. It is a painful, pimply condition that is only exacerbated by sliding back and forth while rowing.

Take our word for it – it’s no fun.

Back in the 2014 edition of the race, we received the report below from our team on board Battleborn, who finished 2nd in the race:

“Being onboard Patience has been a pleasure, it’s also broken down some boundaries that men would normally have between each other. Now for instance, as I sit here typing this blog, Dan (Kierath) is also shoe-horned into the cabin with me (Barry Hayes), shoved right up against me. He has his pants down and is rubbing his crotch down with a baby wipe…. It’s an important ritual to reduce salt sores, but I may need to be treated for post traumatic stress disorder when I get home.”

Getting Pizza Bum or Barnacle Butt is no laughing matter. Living in such close quarter, it is difficult to stay clean and dry. We have received a few reports of sore bums from Uniting Nations, Moana Uli and Ocean Hearts.

Pizza Bum is not gender specific. While we have not received any graphic details from any of our ladies, our 2014 all-ladies team Boatylicious reported the following back in 2014:

“Our other big hygiene issue are looking after our poor bottoms, with a wide range of techniques and skills incorporated. We’ve been wearing the full spectrum of options on deck from sheepskin and a smile, through silk sarongs, to knickers, to Lycra, up to full on foul weather gear in the battle for the boatylicious booties… Then once our shift is over, there’s a lot of air drying, tingly talcum powdering, Sudocreming, compeeding, and comparing! All of the gentlemen who ever offered to ‘cox’ for us on this trip would be horrified at this stage, the modern sophisticated ladies you all know and love on land are rapidly disappearing into four grungy, stinky, knotted authentic ocean rowers. Who knows whether these changes are reversible… You can take the girl out of the ocean, but can you take the ocean out of the girl?”

Until teams can dry out, and stay dry to cure their bums, ointments such as Sudocreme and/ or pain medicines have been utilized on board. Each team is equipped with an extensive medical kit and training was provided prior to each boats departure. Given the lack of sleep and exhaustion that rowers experience, they do need to be careful that they assess potential medical situations correctly.

We hope our teams are staying dry and properly airing out their back sides!

1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 689 NM to finish, Rowed 1596 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 883 NM to finish, Rowed 1505 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 1296 NM to finish, Rowed 1296 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 1194 NM to finish, Rowed 1182 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 1254 NM to finish, Rowed 1107 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 1275 NM to finish, Rowed 1088 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM