Weather: Uniting Nations Row will have 18-20 kt winds from the East with 6-7 ft seas. Pacific Terrific will have 13-14 kt winds from the East North East / East with 5-6 ft seas. Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour will have 9-11 kt winds from the East North East with 4-5 ft seas.
Today was very much a case of “hurry up and wait” for those of us on land. Family and friends have gathered here on the island of O’ahu and over the weekend all was looking promising for a Tuesday arrival. Uniting Nation’s speed had been fairly consistent over the weekend and things seemed to be lining up nicely. We have not yet heard the call of “LAND HO” from team Uniting Nations but the crew have noticed that they are getting closer to land by the change in the birds that are flying overhead, including noticing more of those ‘mechanical birds’ (aka airplanes). They have also noticed some insects in the air and landing on the boat. These are all signs that they are getting close.
But then they rowed right into an arm of current.
Eddies are (usually) circular movements of water, often at the edge of a main current flow of current which causes a small whirlpool effect. This particular arm of current is formed when the northern edge of the north equatorial current flows into the Hawaiian island chain. The islands form a dam against the flow of the current which has to go somewhere and pushes north, some of the flow continues north whilst a smaller portion then circles around anticlockwise, centred around 75nm north of Molokai. The boys are giving it their best effort and rowing hard but they are basically rowing into / across a strong current so each mile rowed over the ground requires the crew to row 1.5 miles over the water. This also means they will not be reaching the shores of Waikiki as soon as we had thought. It’s now looking like a Wednesday arrival for the first crew.
Mother Nature isn’t making this easy but we know that the determination of these boys will get them through what we hope will be their final trial at sea.
Meanwhile, over on Pacific Terrific, the sea life attacks have continued. The ocean must really like these girls from the attraction they are getting from fish to squid to jelly fish. They have circled back to the flying fish attacks and this time it was Eleanor who had the close encounter. Fortunately it just barely avoided hitting her in the face during this nightime attack. Here at Race Headquarters there have been jokes about the possibility of safety goggles as protection from the flying fish and full body armor for protection from jelly fish as compulsory equipment for the 2020 edition of the Great Pacific Race. (On a side note – entries are open for 2020 and discounts are open to crews who sign up before the end of this years’ race. Click here for more info and sign up today!)
With news of the adverse current experienced by Uniting Nations spreading through the fleet, Pacific Terrific and Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour have the opportunity to avoid this potential problem. Whilst race control normally limit the information routinely given to each crew to information about the wind and wave forecast, we will be adding current details to that list for all crews moving forwards. Currents are fickle in nature and occasionally change direction or decrease in strength for brief periods. Until Pacific Terrific and Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour get closer there’s no meaningful advice which can be given other than a couple of way points. However, as they get closer we will keep them much more up to date of the current conditions. We do hope that the eddy will have moved on long before the rest of our teams approach, but better to plan ahead just in case.
One might think that Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour has also hit an eddy based on their slower speed. Unfortunately, the truth behind the story is that Sparky’s knee has started to bother him again so he has decided to take some further rest. Mick is taking one for the team and continuing trying to row as much as possible – and doing a fine job! We do wonder what will develop between Sparky and Rocky [The team’s fluffy penguin mascot] with all of this quiet time they are sharing. Of course we wish Sparky a speedy recovery as we are sure Mick does as well.
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 19:00 (7 pm) PDT
1 Uniting Nations Row/ Isabel: ROWING – 123 NM to finish, Rowed 2185 NM
2 Pacific Terrific/ Danielle: ROWING – 819 NM to finish, Rowed 1601 NM
3 Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour / Bojangles: ROWING – 1119 NM to finish, Rowed 1323 NM
Team Attack Poverty/ Anne: RETIRED
Team Ripple Effect/ Ripple Effect: RETIRED