Row Aloha say Aloha to Hawaii

Posted on July 30, 2016 in Fight the Kraken, Great Pacific Race 2016, Row Aloha, Sons of the Pacific

Friday, July 29th, 2016 – Race Day 54

WEATHER:  For the next 72 hours, the wind and waves are forecast to ease for our Kraken girls. On the one hand this could be welcome, on the other, there will be less wind and smaller waves to nudge them home. 

Today we had our fifth boat finish the Great Pacific Race.  At 1:17 pm local time, Todd Bliss and Rick Leach crossed the finish line after rowing for 54 days 22 hours and 17 minutes.  Todd and Rick were welcomed to the shore at the Waikiki Yacht Club by our biggest gathering of family, friends and supporters to date.  One reason for this is that Row Aloha is what you might call our “local team.”  Rick is from Monterey, CA where the Great Pacific Race began back on June 4th, and Todd lives on the north shore of O’ahu.

As has become the tradition when a team finishes the Great Pacific Race, the crew sat down for their first warm meal on shore while family, friends, supporters and other rowers who might still be in town, peppered them with questions to learn about their crossing.  The stories are fascinating!

When we asked Rick what he learned during his journey he replied:

“There was a lot of profound stuff, once I was through the anger stuff… co-workers and so on … by about day 10 that was all ancient history. I didn’t give a crap about that stuff. The biggest gift, the most profound, was the new ability to have gratitude – for my wife, home, job I have, seeing my friends. It’s the things that just became normal at a background level that didn’t seem special anymore. We’d be out there a couple of thousand miles from anywhere with some hardware and the trust of a friend and it was the path back to all the stuff that I was thankful for.”

In turn, when we asked Todd what he learned on this journey, after the rather long answer from Rick, Todd simply said “NOTHING” which got a laugh from everyone around them.

Pat Hines from Team Ocean Hearts, who you may recall saw words in the bubbles of the waves at times, asked Todd and Rick if they had any strange occurrences on board, or any hallucinations.  Rick then told a story about how there were times at night during the early part of the row when he would not be able to tell how fast or slow he was going while at the oars.  Sometimes he said it felt like he was going 50 MPH (which is not actually possible on an ocean rowing boat) or that he was just rowing around and around and around in a circle as if he was on some sort of carousel.  Todd agreed that he also had moments of these strange nighttime rowing experiences.  The two of them started referring to them as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” which seamed like a very appropriate name for these experiences!

Todd and Rick have known each other for many years.  Over the last couple of decades they had grown a bit apart.  During this race, through the preparations as well as the actual row, they have reconnected and it was clear that they each have a deep admiration for the other.

Todd and Rick kept to their word and made it to shore in time for the fireworks display at the Waikiki Yacht Club.  Tomorrow they will go through the final scrutineering process, and we are curious to see all the fixes and gadgets they had on board Row Aloha.

Earlier today we also caught up with Louis Bird and Erden Eruc of Sons of the Pacific.  With their crossing time of 54 days and 42 minutes, the Sons of the Pacific have broken two records during this crossing.  The first is the overall record for a Classic Pair which was held by Angela Madsen and Tara Remington with a time of 60 Days 5 Hours 5 Minutes.  Sons of the Pacific beat this record by 6 Days 4 Hours and 23 minutes.  They also hold the all male Classic Pairs record. The holders  were  CC4 Pacific in the 2014 edition of the race with a time of 75 days 9 hours and 25 minutes.  Sons of the Pacific shaved 21 days 8 hours and 43 minutes off this record.  It should also be mentioned that Row Aloha now hold the second place in these standings as they beat the CC4 record by 20 days 11 hours 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, out on the Pacific …

By the time you read this report, our girls on Fight the Kraken will have dipped below the 100 NM mark to the finish of the Great Pacific Race.

If you are in the Media, Pennsylvania area, there will be a gathering at:

The Sterling Pig
609 West State Street
Media, PA

Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for updates on their arrival, and join in the local celebration to watch their arrival in Pennsylvania.  Please remember that finish and arrival times are posted in local Hawaii time, which is 6 hours behind Eastern time.  Of course we will be celebrating here in Waikiki as well.

Stay tuned!  The race isn’t over yet!

PREDICTED ARRIVAL 07-27-16 @ 21:00 PST
UN Finished Finished
OH Finished Finished
MU Finished Finished
SOTP Finished Finished
ALOHA Finished Finished
FTK 01-Aug 01-Aug


1 Uniting Nations: FINISHED – 39 Days 9 Hours 56 Minutes
2 Team Ocean Hearts: FINISHED – 46 Days 17 Hours 47 Minutes
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – FINISHED – 48 Days 2 Hours 40 Minutes
4 Sons of the Pacific: FINISHED – 54 Days 0 Hours 42 Minutes
5 Row Aloha: FINISHED – 54 Days 22 Hours 17 Minutes
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 113 NM to finish, Rowed 2310 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM