Hurricane Blas Downgrades

Posted on July 6, 2016 in General, Great Pacific Race 2016

Tuesday, July 6, 2016 – Race Day 32

WEATHER: As the remains of Tropical-Storm Agatha – now post-tropical and not a storm at all – pass to the east of all crews, the winds will be light. Teams to the east will see 15-20 knots from the NE, whereas teams to the west will remain in more favourable 15 knot ENE’lies. Tomorrow the wind will return to its usual 17-19 knots to increase boat-speeds and keep those boats trucking towards Hawaii.

STORM WATCH: This morning BLAS downgraded from a category 4 to a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This afternoon, the pressure at the centre of BLAS rose from 940 millibars to 956, which is another good indicator that the forecast will pan out as predicted. BLAS will likely be crossing the 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit) isotherm in about 12 hours. The system is forecast to weaken and become a post-tropical cyclone when it passes over sea surface temperatures around 24 degrees Celsius. BLAS is moving WNW at about 10 knots on the SW periphery of a suboceanic ridge. This general motion should continue as the ridge remains the primary steering influence. Beyond that time, the forecast track is less certain. The expected outlook at 22.2N, 142.5W on Monday is for max 25-35 knot winds.

This year the East Pacific appears to be a bowling alley for hurricanes. An area of disturbed weather enhanced by a westward tropical wave several hundred miles SW of Mexico has strengthened into our fourth depression in the East Pacific. At this time this is an unnamed storm and so is referred to as Depression Four-E. The depression is forecast to become a tropical storm on Thursday.

As we look at today’s numbers it is interesting to see that the overall spread from Uniting Nations to Fight the Kraken has remained fairly constant. There is still movement within the fleet. The Kraken girls are down to only a 9 NM separation between them and the Sons of the Pacific. All other distances have remained fairly constant, with the exception of Team Ocean Hearts who have managed to shave off an additional 4 NM on the gap between them and our lead boat of Uniting Nations. Team Ocean Hearts once again is at the top of our 4:00 pm PST 24 hour mileage log with 56 NM. Numbers are down a bit from yesterday’s 24 hour period, but there are some weather considerations out there as well as being able to row in the “right direction” toward the finish.

Teams on the eastern side of our fleet have been putting in some long and hard hours at the oars. Row Aloha went from 47 NM yesterday to 55 today. Sons of the Pacific had the biggest increase going from 34 NM yesterday to 47 NM today. And the Kraken girls also had an increase of 9 NM going from 40 NM yesterday to 49 NM today. Megan and Vicki checked in today to let us know that they were “still working on running away” from Blas. They followed up with: “woo hoo! runnin’ and gunnin’! layin the girl hammer down!” We know we can always count on those Kraken girls for inspiration! #KrakenGirlPower

We receive all kinds of messages and questions and we really enjoy hearing from everyone. We have received a few inquiries about what, exactly, crews are eating on board. Each crew had to submit a meal plan during the scrutinizing process in Monterey. Our staff reviewed each plan to be sure that our rowers would be consuming enough calories in order to sustain themselves during their crossing.

Each team has been carrying all their food with them since they left Monterey back on June 4th. Fresh food would have lasted for the first four to five days on board. Then crews have to resort to something else, which is usually freeze dried packaged food. Boats have a small stove on board, similar to a camping stove. All boats have the Jetboil, which is the fastest means of boiling the water made from their water makers. This is then added to the freeze-dried packs to create a wonderful meal.

It all sounds great, right? Especially when you read packaged names such as Chili with Mac and Beef, Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, Chicken and White Bean Chili, New Orleans Style with Shrimp (“style” of what we are not quite sure) or Long Grain & Rice Pilaf. But this is what they are eating every day, day after day. And there is no supermarket along the way for a little variety or a fresh salad. That will all have to wait until crews arrive in Hawaii.

On average, our rowers need to consume about 4,000 calories per day. The average adult needs about 2,000 calories just to exist, never mind rowing 12 hours in 24! Their first meal on shore at the yacht club upon their arrival is perhaps the best meal they might ever have!

Estimated Arrival Dates
Many of you have been asking about estimated arrival dates for the various teams.  It is impossible to predict an exact date and time, but we can give a fairly good guess-timate.  Below is a chart showing our lead boats and a possible arrival window.  Please note that as teams get closer to Hawaii, they tend to speed up.  Arrival dates become slightly more predictable once teams dip under the 500 NM mark to the finish.

PREDICTED ARRIVAL 07-06-16 @ 12:00 PST
UN 15-Jul 17-Jul 8.4
OH 18-Jul 20-Jul 10.8
MU 21-Jul 26-Jul 16.3
ALOHA 23-Jul 04-Aug 18.1
SOTP 30-Jul 11-Aug 25.3
FTK 27-Jul 11-Aug 24.4


Meanwhile, back on shore …

The Endurance Limits Boats are BACK!  We are pleased to let you know that both boats from teams Endurance Limits and Endurance Limits USA have been collected from the ocean and brought back to shore.  It was a long process as the boats had drifted about 227 NM offshore while they were unmanned.  Our team, working with the capable seamen on board fishing trawler TrailBlazer, were able to locate both boats and bring them back to Monterey.

Team member Ryan Foss from Endurance Limits USA was on shore when the boats came in.  “It was bittersweet to see Mugatu again” said Ryan .  “We are grateful to Captain Markus for taking on the job to tow her back.”

1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 451 NM to finish, Rowed 1835 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 623 NM to finish, Rowed 1770 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 800 NM to finish, Rowed 1514 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 989 NM to finish, Rowed 1396 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 1095 NM to finish, Rowed 1273 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 1104 NM to finish, Rowed 1265 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM