Losing Things at Sea

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

Sunday, July 10th, 2016 – Race Day 36

WEATHER: For the next 24 hours, crews to the west may see anything from 08-17 knots of wind from the ENE; crews to the east 17-27 knots. In the cycle of any intense weather system there is the rinse period of heavy rain, followed by the spin cycle of strong winds – which thankfully in the case of hurricane Blas our rowers have managed to avoid – and now they face disorganised seas as the waves are no longer driven by the wind. 

STORM WATCH: Celia continues to strengthen and has become a category 1 hurricane, the second of the 2016 season in the Eastern Pacific. Deep thunderstorm activity continues to wrap around the center, currently located over 1,100 miles from our most easterly rowers. There is a possibility that Celia will remain over warmer water for the next 24 hours and strengthen to become a major hurricane. Celia like Blas, is forecast to turn to the NW and push into cooler water. A slow weakening is forecast to begin on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, we are watching a weak area of low pressure SW of Acapulco, Mexico. Currently, thunderstorm activity is disorganized and the system is encountering some wind shear, preventing the storm from developing further. 

As we work our way through the tropical storm alphabet, currently on letter “C”, our crews continue to have a variety of weather conditions to deal with. With the spread of over 600 NM between the fleet, conditions can vary quite a bit for each of our crews. We received a run down from our crews about the actual conditions they have been facing recently. Here is what they said, working from the back of the fleet forward.

Fight the Kraken has been seeing ENE choppy waves “coming out of everywhere” at a high of 2-4 meters combined with a swell from the E-ESE. They reported that the wind conditions were averaging between 15 to 20 knots and gusting a bit higher. The wind direction was coming from the east. With conditions such as these, the course direction for the Kraken girls has been more of a westerly one.

Sons of the Pacific, who are very close to Fight the Kraken, not surprisingly reported very similar conditions. “Now 15 ENE (wind) with 2-3M ENE swells” was reported by Eden Eruc.  He also reported that the cross waves had been dying down and that the seas they were seeing were less bumpy. In an update this morning he reported that their 2-3 meter seas had become even more orderly and following and that they were moving along nicely. He told us they saw lightning during the night and had “rain more mist and drizzle than downpour” under generally cloudy skies.

Moving more toward the middle of the fleet, Row Aloha is seeing slightly less breeze at about 8-12 knots, also from the ENE. The sea state for Todd and Rick was also in the 2-3 meter range and going with the wind.

Moana Uli didn’t give us as specific details on their conditions, just informing us that “it is very very very wet here…I am referring the torrential downpour. We are all good otherwise.”

Up toward the front of our fleet, temperatures are rising as our lead boats close the gap on the Hawaiian Islands. It won’t be long now until both Uniting Nations and Team Ocean Hearts will be shouting “Land Ho!” Liz and Pat reported conditions of “very choppy confused waves. Wind speed averages around 8-11 knots. Feels like rowing in wet cement. Struggle to even maintain 2 knots.” Two knots is actually quite good for ocean rowing boats so we hope that the Ocean Hearts ladies are not too discouraged by their speed. They also reported that they woke up this morning to “over 20 dead flying fish on the deck!”

Uniting Nations let us know that the wind and waves are “favorable but enabling us to get good speed since early this am.” Uniting Nations are not without technical problems on board. They have worn out the wheels that assist in gliding their rowing seats forward and backward. And they have gone through all the spare wheels they had packed for their journey. The team is now faced with trying to figure out a possible fix using whatever spare parts they have on board or converting their sliding seats to fixed ones for the remainder of their journey. Whatever they decide, we are confident that they will continue their quest to beat the record set in 2014. They might even make it to shore in under 40 days!

We also posed another question to our teams. We have been wondering if they have lost anything overboard during their journey. We know that early on teams were getting quite wet with waves crashing over their boats. Either Vicki or Megan of Fight the Kraken wrote:

“:( I had set my favorite t-shirt on deck to wash and as I was grabbing the soap a wave hit us and washed it out the scupper! bummer!”

Erden Eruc on Sons of the Pacific wrote in:

“On that fateful night early on when other boats capsized, my headlamp, which was resting on deck, was washed overboard by the same wave which filled the cockpit.”

We then asked Erden how he was surviving at night without his headlamp and he told us:

“We manage by starlight outside and by the glow of the chart plotter inside. We are being intent on preserving night vision and respecting that of a mate.”

Row Aloha added to the tally:

“one sandisk MP3 player and one good tube of sunscreen”

The longest answer we received was from Team Ocean Hearts.

“Pat lost an oar and two hats. She also said she lost her patience. One night we had a severe rain storm around 1AM and a nasty wave threw Pat partially overboard. She recovered nicely but was pretty shook up. She said during the tussle she lost her patience!”

PREDICTED ARRIVAL 07-10-16 @ 19:00 PDT
UN 14-Jul 14-Jul 3.7
OH 29-Jul 20-Jul 12.8
MU 21-Jul 24-Jul 14.5
ALOHA 29-Jul 01-Aug 18.9
SOTP 24-Jul 05-Aug 15.9
FTK 25-Jul 05-Aug 16.4
1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 224 NM to finish, Rowed 2066 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 440 NM to finish, Rowed 1963 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 595 NM to finish, Rowed 1720 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 787 NM to finish, Rowed 1600 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 871 NM to finish, Rowed 1498 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 884 NM to finish, Rowed 1488 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM