Tuesday, July 5, 2016 – Race Day 31
WEATHER: The front three teams are now in a different band of weather to the second three teams. Those to the west can expect 15-20 knot winds from the ENE, while the rowers to the east will feel the the remnants of Agatha. Tropical Storm Agatha completely dissipated over the cooler sea surface temperatures, but the ESE wind-waves remain which, for the next few days will make it difficult for crews to steer SW towards Hawaii. All progress west is good progress, so crews have been advised to keep rowing hard in whichever westerly direction the conditions will allow.
STORM WATCH: Early this morning Hurricane Blas become a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. By this afternoon, Blas had become a category 4 hurricane. Blas is currently centered 930 miles SW of the southern tip of Baja, California.
The storm continues to move through a region of weak wind shear – low atmospheric resistance – and very warm ocean temperatures. These favorable conditions will support further strengthening over the next 12-18 hours. This is as predicted. Beyond this time, the cyclone is expected to move over cooler water and into a progressively drier air mass. These conditions should end the strengthening phase and cause a steady weakening trend as per Agatha.
The hurricane should downgrade to a minimal hurricane on Friday and then weaken to a tropical storm Saturday. Further weakening will continue until the system is called “a remnant low” and this is expected to occur by Sunday or Sunday night. By the time the low reaches 21.6N, 139.8W and the area of our rowers, the extended outlook forecasts a maximum wind strength of 30-40 knots.
We are officially one month in to the 2016 edition of the Great Pacific Race. And today we would like to wish Louis and Erden on Sons of the Pacific; Vicki and Megan on Fight the Kraken, HAPPY HALF-WAY!
We recently told you about the hazards of having Pizza Bum. There is also a downside (get it: haha) to having what we’ll call “boat bum”. Because ocean rowing boats are human powered and therefore move quite slowly, even the best anti-foul paint cannot deter algae and barnacles from growing on the bottom of these boats. Every now and again, teams must get into the water, dive under their boats, and scrape away anything growing on the bottom. Whatever is hanging on underneath their boats can create drag and significantly affect boat speed. In fact, having a clean boat bum could mean as much as half a knot of extra speed!
The tool of choice for this task is a car windscreen scraper. Giving the boat bum a scrub is also good for our rowers’ health: swimming in the ocean is good for morale, the wash is beneficial for the skin, rowers can stretch their legs and for once get a few extra feet away from team mate/s!
When we asked how the boat bums were doing, here are some of the replies we received:
Uniting Nations, who are all business all the time told us simply: “Bottom all clean. Thanks for the tip.”
Team Ocean Hearts who are focusing on rowing to catch up Uniting Nations said: “Maybe later we’ll check our bum. Thanks.”
Moana Uli Rowing: “Nil barnacles – Greg and Brian enjoyed the swim though.”
Row Aloha: “Probably check boat bum next swim. No evidence so far – only a couple gooseneck on the life lines picked off. No aquatic hitchhikers allowed!”
Sons of the Pacific: “We have not looked honestly. We should find the goggles then dive for inspection!”
Fight The Kraken: “Got in and boy howdy Sedna had a dirty bum! Scrubbed her clean and now we’re back on the road!”
We also asked the Kraken girls how they were feeling about crossing the invisible halfway point. We had heard a rumor that the girls had a bottle of champagne on board to celebrate this milestone, so we inquired if perhaps they had a hangover this morning after celebrating the July 4th holiday as well as hitting the halfway point. “Ha Ha! We Wish!” the girls told us. They informed us that they were working on changing the wheels on their seats for a smooth second half. Then they said “We celebrated by scrubbing Sedna’s bum and trying to out row the storm. We can relax and celebrate in Hawaii.”
While the girls were scubbing and rowing, we learned that there were quite a few celebrations happening literally across the United States of America last night when Megan and Vicki hit the halfway milestone.
Tom Bird in Glen Mills, PA: “WOOT! WOOT!!! Today Vicki & Meg will hit the halfway point in their journey, an incredible feat. Vicki told me they plan on toasting this milestone with a glass of Champaign. I told her I would be home toasting with Kraken Rum.”
Marisa Finnell in Sterling, Virginia: “Sangria! Woot! Woot!! Go girls!!”
Sue Markovich in Phoenix, AZ: “I have my Red Solo Cup with some vino in it. Go Kraken!!!!”
And were were also impressed that Phil Stoops, also from Glen Mills, PA rowed 10k in their honor!
While celebrations may have been happening across America last night, plans for welcome celebrations are also under way on the Hawaiian islands. It won’t be long now until our lead boats arrive. Predictions are that Uniting Nations could arrive between July 13th and July 15th, with Team Ocean Hearts not all that far behind with a window of July 15th to July 20th. Bare in mind that crews tend to speed up a bit as they get nearer. As the expression goes, “horses gallop faster when in sight of the barn door!”
Please get in touch if you are heading west to greet the crews! We look forward to hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 4:00 pm PDT today
1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 503 NM to finish, Rowed 1783 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 679 NM to finish, Rowed 1712 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 852 NM to finish, Rowed 1462 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 1043 NM to finish, Rowed 1341 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 1142 NM to finish, Rowed 1224 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 1152 NM to finish, Rowed 1215 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM