Weather: Conditions vary slightly across the fleet. For Uniting Nations Row, winds are under 10 kts and variable in direction from West North West to North North West. Seas are around 6 ft. For Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour and Pacific Terrific, winds will be slightly stronger at 8-13 kts with seas around 6 ft.
We hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. For one of our teams this was a very joyous weekend.
As we had previously reported (in this statement) the ocean row boat Anne had been abandoned by Team Attack Poverty. She had been slowly drifting south over the following week in strong conditions but this weekend the conditions were lighter making it the first possible time to action a mission to recover her. However, by this time she had drifted more than 230nm away from the nearest mainland port, thus reducing the number of vessels that might be able to assist and tow her back to land. One of our support yachts had attempted to tow Anne the morning after her crew abandoned her but the towline snapped and the decision was made at that time to allow her to continue to drift.
After multiple options all turned out to be a dead end, Mike Matson found that the Research Vessel Sally Ride which is operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego was conducting ocean sampling in the area. Scientists from CalCOFI’s team from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NOAA are currently calling this vessel home. Their schedule was strict and their timelines tight. Even though they were expecting to cross Anne’s path by just 16nm there was no way that they could be convinced to divert slightly to collect her. But if Anne could cross their path at the right time, then R/V Sally Ride would be willing to bring her to shore. The support yacht Present Moment wasn’t too far away from Anne having just visited Pacific Terrific. Present Moment took on the task of towing Anne to intercept the predefined path. The R/V Sally Ride motored for a few hours before pausing to complete ocean sampling and then headed off again. Details were thin on the ground but we knew that time would be incredibly tight. By the time Present Moment was with Anne, R/V Sally Ride was only 3 hours away from the previously expected rendezvous point. Like a car driver trying to catch a train that he just missed at the station the crew of Present Moment adjusted their course and put the hammer down to intercept R/V Sally Ride and hand over their precious cargo.
Full details of the “transfer” of Anne from Present Moment onto R/V Sally Ride can be found here. Today’s featured image was sent to us by Present Moment as Anne was being lifted onto R/V Sally Ride.
Present Moment set her sails to head back to the fleet and was on her way to our lead boat of Uniting Nations Row when the wind all but disappeared. Our safety officer Erden Eruç took this opportunity to “take a shower standing in the stall without bracing. A bit of laundry too, chores getting done” in the light air and flat waters. Jokingly, after the wind rose from 4 knots to 5 knots and at the suggestion that perhaps they should put a reef in their sails, the crew replied that it was indeed “a white knuckle experience.” We are glad they have maintained their sense of humor out there in the Pacific.
Team Uniting Nations Row has also taken the opportunity of this nicer weather to make a repair on board. One of the tubes on their water maker was dripping a about one drip a second while they were making water. This was more of a nuisance than a real problem as after making drinkable water, they would have to pump out what had collected from the drips. Anything technical has a tendency of only getting worse not better and so they decided to replace the hose. The fix wasn’t perfect but it was a lot better. They’ve still “got a single drop once in a while but shouldn’t be anything to worry about” Good job, boys!
The team of Uniting Nations Row may have some good fortune in their future. We are excited to see the letter E in the weather forecast for our leading boat. It’s not for a considerable number of hours yet and it comes in the form of the wind coming from a North / North East direction, but the E is a good sign for them that they are getting closer to more helpful winds.
The weather has improved for all of our teams. Over on Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour, we heard a report early in the weekend that they had experienced their first “dry-ish” day. Cazz, Megan and Eleanor of Pacific Terrifc are also enjoying this change in the weather. With their check-in last evening they reported “Who knew the Pacific Ocean didn’t always have big waves that insist on drenching you 5 minutes before change up?!? It’s bloody glorious.” Similar sentiments were sent from Uniting Nations Row with reports of an “Amazingly flat ocean.”
The weather this year hasn’t been unusually strong per se but it has been unusually relentless. Usually we could expect to see strong winds of the intensity that the crews experienced in the first week for a few days and then be replaced with a few days of lighter winds before they pick up again. This year has been brutal and the crews have certainly been made to earn these lighter winds and flatter seas.
With these calmer seas, crews should be able to make some progress west, or south west. All of our crews have now dipped below the 2,000 mile mark to go. Another milestone checked off.
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 19:00 (7 pm) PDT
1 Uniting Nations Row/ Isabel: ROWING – 1819 NM to finish, Rowed 398 NM
2 Cockleshell Endeavour Pacific/ Bojangles: ROWING – 1974 NM to finish, Rowed 291 NM
3 Pacific Terrific/ Danielle: ROWING – 1999 NM to finish, Rowed 302 NM
Team Attack Poverty/ Anne: RETIRED
Team Ripple Effect/ Ripple Effect: RETIRED