Weather: Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour will have 18 kt winds from the East North East with 9 ft easterly seas.
Our team of former Royal Marines, Mick and Sparky are less than 200 nm from Oahu but tonight it must feel like an ocean away. It seems that before allowing them passage across the Pacific they will need to withstand the forces of Mother Nature one more time before the end of their row. This incredible team has overcome so many obstacles and setbacks so far, from Sparky’s injuries to his shoulder and knee to the damage sustained to their phones which were going to be used to film (and send us footage of) their journey, and yet they have kept moving forwards. But now there is Hurricane LANE which is expected to beat the team to O’ahu by a couple of days
Why haven’t we heard more about LANE before? The simple reason is that it was forecast to pass hundreds of miles south of the crew and the islands without incident but it’s just within the last couple of days that the threat has continued to build as LANE continues to veer towards Oahu.
Mick and Sparky will be approaching the island of O’ahu from the east and Hurricane LANE having passed the Big Island is forecast to start travelling north and will approach the island from the south. Usually hurricanes approaching the Hawaiian islands hit the Big Island first as is the most south and eastern of the island chain. In doing so a hurricane loses a lot of its power as it is forced to contend with mountains providing conditions which are hostile to hurricanes. We have seen this happen once before during the 2014 Great Pacific Race as the double threat of two Hurricane’s Iselle and Julio threatened the islands just as our French crew, CC4, were making their final approach to the islands. (and yes the pair of cousins even bought a T-shirt to commemorate the event)
This year, unlike in 2014, the hurricane has passed south of the Big Island and not interacted with the hostile mountains and is now changing its course and will travel in a much more northerly direction. There is the possibility that LANE will make a direct hit on one or even more of the Hawaiian islands late this week and into this weekend – right at the time we were expecting our final crew to arrive. “LANE has the potential of bringing the state of Hawaii serious and perhaps record damage,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert, Dan Kottlowski. How much of an impact that LANE will have on the islands will depend on the track the storm will take and the strength of the storm as it passes the island.
LANE has just been classed as a category 5 hurricane (on a scale of 1-5 where 5 is the strongest and means that the hurricane has sustained wind speeds of more than 137kt / 157mph). Given that hurricane force winds extend for many miles outside the storm’s center and we want Sparky and Mick to stay away from these we have taken the safety precaution of asking them to stop rowing for at least 24 hours until we know further details. If LANE continues on her expected path as speed then we may need to keep them on the parachute anchor and delay their forward progress into the storm for 48 hours or maybe even a little more. If LANE diverts more to the west then we may be able to release Mick and Sparky a little earlier. However, even in their present location more than 200nm from the predicted center of the storm path and with all the Hawaiian islands between them and the hurricane, the crew will likely experience periods of sustained winds greater than 30kts.
This news was received as well as can be expected by a team who are ready to finish their adventure. Of course as always their professionalism and courage showed through. We did provide an alternative option which was to accept a tow into Maui but both members of this incredible unit took the decision to extend their stay on the Pacific for around a couple more days. Their main concern seemed to be less about the hurricane and more about that the gas canisters that are used for their gas stove which are nearly all exhausted. Whilst freeze dried food can easily enough be re-hydrated with water of any temperature a cup of team necessitates boiling water. What a challenge, they have tea but no way to heat water.
While we await their arrival, you can show your support for Mick Dawson and Steve Sparkes by making a donation to their fundraising page where they are raising funds for both the Blind Veterans UK and The Royal Marines Charity. Just CLICK HERE to make a donation.
If following the Great Pacific Race this year has made you interested in learning more or if you’re considering joining us on the start of the 2020 Great Pacific Race then now is the ideal time to step forward. If you sign up before Mick and Sparkey finish then you get your race deposit for just £1 (down from £500 per seat) AND £2,000 off the race entry fee. Click here to join the 10 other crews who have entered before the 2018 race is over!
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 19:00 (7 pm) PDT
1 Uniting Nations Row/ Isabel: FINISHED – 49 Days, 23 Hours, 15 Minutes
2 Pacific Terrific/ Danielle: ROWING – FINISHED – 62 Days, 18 Hours, 36 Minutes
3 Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour / Bojangles: ROWING – 173 NM to finish, Rowed 2368 NM
Team Attack Poverty/ Anne: RETIRED
Team Ripple Effect/ Ripple Effect: RETIRED