Behind the Scenes

Posted on July 10, 2016 in General, Great Pacific Race 2016

Saturday, July 9th, 2016 – Race Day 35

WEATHER: Despite the spread between the front and the back of the fleet winds have been virtually identical for all teams during the last day, at 10-15kt out of the ENE or East. Some crews towards the back of the fleet reported thunder storms last night with a slight stiffening in the breeze. The forecast weather for the next few days is very similar with a slight increase expected in the wave height as the remnants of BLAS pass by.

STORM WATCH:  Tropical Storm BLAS has weakened significantly as it passes over cooler water.  It is forecast to continue reducing in intensity becoming a post tropical storm in 24 hours.  The center of this post-tropical storm will pass around 240NM south of Fight the Kraken and Sons of the Pacific in 2 – 3 days’ time.  At that time max wind speeds at the center of the system are expected to be around 25kt so although the crews will certainly feel the effects of the system it will be in the form of a nudge towards Hawaii rather than anything stronger.

Tropical Storm CELIA is currently more than 1,100NM ESE from the nearest crew and more than 2,300NM away from Hawaii.  It is predicted that she will become stronger, and within 24 hours should develop maximum wind speeds above 75 mph, the threshold for turning her into a hurricane.  CELIA is expected to continue to strengthen for the next couple of days before weakening.  Her predicted track at present appears to be generally similar to the earlier tropical cyclones of AGATHA and BLAS.

Today we would like to introduce you to some of the members of the Great Pacific Race support team – the ones behind the scenes – who will greet the crews as they arrive in Hawaii. As the saying goes, sometimes it takes a village to get things done and you might think that this is true for the Great Pacific Race. We are actually a small, but highly experienced, skilled and dedicated international team.

The leader of the pack, and someone most of you already know, is our Race Director Chris Martin. Chris Martin is a record-setting ocean rower and international athlete who returned with a medal from each of the six World Championships where he raced. In 2005, he became the 30th person to row solo across the Atlantic and a year later co-founded the Association of Ocean Rowers to help others who wanted to row an ocean. Since then he has offered advice and has provided land support for multiple ocean rowers and other adventurous trips.  In 2009, Chris (together with Mick Dawson) earned a Guinness World Record for becoming the first team to row across the North Pacific from Japan to San Francisco. Chris is the founder of New Ocean Wave (the company behind the Great Pacific Race) and is dedicated to giving others the same amazing opportunities that he has enjoyed.

It has been through Chris’ vast network of worldwide connections and years spent in the sport that has allowed him the opportunity to assemble a truly remarkable group of people to assist him and the rowers to make this memorable crossing of the Pacific.

Lia Ditton has been the Safety Officer for both editions of the Great Pacific Race.  Over the course of fifteen years, Lia has sailed over 150,000 nautical miles and is the 53rd woman to row the Atlantic. Lia usually skippers boats from 60-100 feet and has raced across the Atlantic 9 times, sailed the Indian Ocean twice and the Pacific 3 times. She can truly sympathize with our ocean rowers as she has calculated that she has eaten over 2 years worth of freeze-dried food. Lia has been on task for the Great Pacific Race 24/7 since before the boats left the docks in Monterey. She works tirelessly on weather updates and keeping everyone at sea safe as well as coordinating with the proper authorities so everyone is informed and aware of what is going on both on land and at sea. Lia is on-site in Hawaii to greet the crews as well as to perform their final scrutinizing upon their arrivals.

Dr. Aenor Sawyer is the Medical Officer for the Great Pacific Race. She is an Orthopaedist in the University of California, San Francisco Department of Orthopaedic Surgery with expertise in Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Her background as a Physical Therapist and Exercise Physiologist as well as her work in digital health and telemedicine allows her to provide comprehensive remote medical coverage for Ocean Rowers.  Aenor sat with each crew member as well as the collective teams during pre-race interviews. While teams have been at sea, she has been collaborating with expedition communication networks such as Sentinel to ensure that our crews stay healthy, and happy.  We have reported about pizza bum, sea sickness and fatigue during this race. Aenor has been hard at work behind the scenes on each and every medical issue, big or small, that has arisen. She will be on site as teams arrive to assess their conditions after being at sea, and yes, we will even assess the pizza bums! Believe us when we tell you that Aenor has seen it all before!

Ellen Hoke keeps us all organized, on task and helps to document the event.  She is a photographer, writer and a detail oriented wiz.  She has traveled the world to photograph sailing events and her photos have been published in everything from local magazines in her home town San Francisco, to national and daily publications, to international sailing magazines. Ellen’s images from the inaugural Great Pacific Race in 2014 were published around the globe and are featured in the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records with the listing of records set by that race.  Ellen has been the major contributor to the daily race reports, with weather and editing assistance from Lia and Chris. She is looking forward to the arrivals, which for her is the true highlight of the event.

We would also like to mention those members of the team for the preparations in Monterey.
Boat Building Justin Adkin
Scrutineer Nicholas Carvajal
Scrutineer Greg Spooner

Now that you know a bit more about us, we would welcome hearing from you, especially if you are heading to Hawaii to greet one of the crews, or if you might be interested in participating in the 2018 edition of the Great Pacific Race. The best way to contact us is or fill in this form on the contact us page. Follow us on Facebook. And stay tuned for what promises to be some incredible finishes to the 2016 edition of the Great Pacific Race.

We’ve been holding onto the following race update for a quiet news day, and that’s exactly what it’s been.  This morning some of you will have noticed on the race tracker went a little strange for a few hours.  Fight the Kraken shot to the top of the leaderboard whilst Uniting Nations were suddenly relegated to last place.  We’re happy to report that the tracking units which are mounted to all boats and send the position of each boat to us every hour are all working perfectly as they always do.  However, a glitch in the software provided the reason behind our few moments of fast paced problem solving while the issue was isolated and fixed.  For the rowers, we have had precious few new stories to tell.  Each crew is rowing hard, and they are making great time toward Hawaii.  It’s almost as if the crews can smell land.  Knowing that the day will soon arrive when they won’t have to wake up in two hours time to complete another stint on the oars comes an extra turn of pace.  Uniting Nations look poised to not just break but destroy the existing Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing of the Pacific, but until they are safely on land we’re all aware that anything could happen.

This coming week we will welcome our first crew(s) to the islands.  Stay tuned and keep watching!

Today we will close with an ODE TO FIGHT THE KRAKEN, By Bruce Woodard

Through storm and hurricane
Team Kraken Rows on;
To win the Great Race
Against competition strong.

Rocking and rolling in very fierce winds,
Team Kraken keeps rowing by strength from within;
The problems are many,
The accolades few,
The hearts of true champions,
Red, white and blue.

To help the oceans
heal the damage we’ve done,
Is the goal of this duo,
So really they’ve won!

As family and friends,
Beam with pride and delight!
The ocean says “thank you”,
Two gals won the fight!

1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 286 NM to finish, Rowed 2002 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 474 NM to finish, Rowed 1922 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 638 NM to finish, Rowed 1677 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 830 NM to finish, Rowed 1556 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING –931 NM to finish, Rowed 1438 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 943 NM to finish, Rowed 1429 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED  –  Rowed 207 NM

3 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes

  1. […] Great Pacific Race is the brainchild of Race Director Chris Martin from Great Britain. Martin, 35, is an accomplished rower who competed in three World Junior […]

  2. […] Nice Pacific Race is the brainchild of Race Director Chris Martin from Nice Britain. Martin, 35, is an completed rower who competed in three World Junior […]

  3. […] Great Pacific Race is the brainchild of Race Director Chris Martin from Great Britain. Martin, 35, is an accomplished rower who competed in three World Junior […]

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