Darby Divides the Fleet

Posted on July 19, 2016 in Fight the Kraken, Great Pacific Race 2016, Moana Uli, Ocean Hearts, Row Aloha, Sons of the Pacific

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 – Race Day 45

WEATHER: 15-20 knots ENE is forecast for the next 48 hours. As Darby approaches, the wind will strengthen to 20-25 knots

STORM WATCH: Tropical Storm Darby continues to maintain deep convection near its center. The storm should encounter increasing vertical shear and drier air over the next several days, but will be moving over slightly warmer waters. As a result a slow rate of weakening is expected. Model guidance has continued to evolve and a mid-level cyclone to the north of the Hawaiian Islands is now expected to cause Darby to turn toward the northwest. Indications are that Darby will pass to the east of Hawaii, however there remains a level of uncertainty about her forecast track.

In yesterday’s storm watch, we reported that Hurricane Darby was going to progressively decay over the next few days as it moved to the west and then took a slight curve to the southwest.  The updated models are today telling us that Darby has decided to head northwest instead of southwest.  With these new predictions, Darby will divide our fleet.

As we have been reporting throughout the day, Team Ocean Hearts has dipped below the 100NM mark and the official countdown for the arrival of Liz and Pat has begun.  Their family and friends have been gathering, meeting each other and chatting with anticipation of the arrival of Team Ocean Hearts.  We are also mixing in family, friends and supporters of Moana Uli Rowing and Row Aloha who are also here on the island.  As of this writing, Team Ocean Hearts is predicted to be the second boat to finish the Great Pacific Race sometime on Thursday, July 21st.  Watch our Facebook page and website for updates.

Next nearest the finish is Moana Uli Rowing.  With Darby potentially taking that northwesterly turn, this means that Tim, Brian and Greg need to row hard and row fast!  Wikikiki is the Hawaiian word for “fast or speedy” and that is exactly what this crew needs to do.  It really is a case of  “Hawaii or Bust”.  We are very confident that they will make it through the Molokai Channel to the red Diamond Head buoy while Darby skirts the eastern faces of the Islands behind them.  In fact Darby could give the crew that added little incentive to get them rapidly ashore.  Ashore is where they need to be by Saturday.  That is their new goal, which must be achieved.  Any words of encouragement you could share to cheer on this crew would be very welcome!

It is here that our fleet becomes divided.  Sons of the Pacific, Row Aloha and Fight the Kraken, were today informed that at a longitude of 150 degrees they must stop and wait.  Yes, STOP.  If they go further west, then they risk Darby going right over the top of them.  Having already experienced the remnants of Celia a week or so ago all crews were unsurprisingly willing to wait this one out.  “We will let the freight train pass at the railroad crossing then drive through.” said Erden on Sons of the Pacific.  Over on Row Aloha, the team were eager to make the best of the enforced wait. “Maybe I’ll break open the rod and get some fishing in” said Todd.  The Ahi Poke served at the Waikiki Yacht Club is excellent and we’re interested to hear how the dish Todd’s planning to serve up tonight compares. We await further confirmation of their culinary success (or otherwise). These three teams will wait on sea anchor at this point for a period somewhere between 24 hours and five days.  This may seem like a long time, but for our teams’ safety they must wait until Darby decides which route to take and at what strength.

Even though they will be a couple of hundred miles away from Darby’s predicted center as she passes, teams will still go through rough conditions, but the winds and seas should be coming from behind them so hopefully the conditions will FEEL significantly less harsh than with Celia.  This time around, Vicki and Megan on Fight the Kraken should be the least affected by the conditions. We are sure this will be welcome news to our Kraken Fighters! The girls haven’t lost any of their competitive spirit either. “Tell the boys ahead of us that now we’re going to catch up with them that “Their ass is Grass.”” quipped Vicki when we called to tell them about the plan to pause at 150W.  With the lack of grass on the Pacific perhaps we need to amend the quote slightly. However “Their ass is seaweed” doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Once crews are given the green light to get on the oars again, we will see these three teams power through to Hawaii.  One thing this division of the fleet will do, is consolidate our three remaining teams.  This could make for some very interesting finishes toward the end of the month, or early August. Race positions will be rewarded later, taking into account the latitude and longitude of the team at the beginning and end of the enforced waiting period.

Stay tuned!

PREDICTED ARRIVAL 07-19-16 @ 18:00 PST
UN Finished Finished
OH 21-Jul 21-Jul
MU 23-Jul 23-Jul
SOTP 05-Aug 31-Jul
ALOHA 27-Jul 01-Aug
FTK 03-Aug 04-Aug


1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – FINISHED 39 Days 9 Hours 56 Minutes
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING –87 NM to finish, Rowed 2359 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 181 NM to finish, Rowed 2140 NM
4 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 443 NM to finish, Rowed 1956 NM
5 Row Aloha: ROWING – 462 NM to finish, Rowed 1963 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 537 NM to finish, Rowed 1874 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM