Race Day 78 – August 23

Posted on August 24, 2018 in Cockleshell Endeavour, Great Pacific Race 2018, Pacific Terrific, Uniting Nations 2018

Weather: Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour are expected to have 35kt winds from the East with 16 ft easterly seas but hurricane LANE is changeable in her track and intensity and even a small change for LANE will mean a big change for the team. 


Mick Dawson and Steve Sparkes of team Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour continue to wait out Hurricane LANE aboard their boat Bojangles.  Reports from NOAA indicate that the storm is starting to weaken slightly but sustained wind speeds are still incredibly strong and extend for hundreds of miles away from the hurricane’s centre which continues to roll up the western side of the Hawaiian islands.  This weakening might allow Mick and Sparky to move forward with the use of a drogue later today so you may see some forward movement from them soon.  A drogue looks a bit like a windsock which is tied to the back of the boat and keeps the stern of the boat held into the weather, helping to prevent broaching and capsize. In using a drogue, ocean rowing boats are more stable in heavy conditions and their forward progress is slowed but significantly faster than if using a parachute anchor.  The use of the para anchor keeps the boat in one place and does not allow any forward movement.

The team is still around 145 nautical miles away from the finish so even when they do start making forward progress again it will still be several days before they land in Waikiki.  The nearest land to them is only about 60nm to their south west.  Maui would visible from their position if only the visibility was better.  As it is they can only see thick clouds in all directions.

Currently we are anticipating the team’s arrival sometime mid-week next week but this is so dependent on the performance of hurricane LANE that predicting this with any degree of certainty is impossible.  Updates on their predicted arrival time will be posted via our website as well as to social media when they get below 100nm to go.

In the time that Mick and Sparky have been halted at sea, the volume of support and well wishes have been overwhelming.  When participating in the Great Pacific Race, rowers, family and supporters become a family.  Rowers from this years’ Great Pacific Race who have recently made this incredible crossing know better than anyone what it feels like go through what Mick and Sparky are facing at the moment.

Evan Buckland of Uniting Nations Row told us:

I’ve had a non stop line of people I work with coming by my office talking about it [Hurricane Lane and Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour] too.  I have taken to the talking point of ‘I couldn’t image a better team of two guys to make it safely through that.  Mick is like the godfather of ocean rowing and from the few beers I had with Sparky, they know how to get through it.’  But I feel for them.  It seems like the Great Pacific Race is an absolute dog fight right to the bitter end.  I’ve got nothing but the upmost respect for those two guys.

Megan Hoskin from Pacific Terrific wrote:

Can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for the guys – this is one grand finale to their epic journey for sure.  Keeping everything crossed they’re having more fun playing squished piglets than we did!

I remember all too well the nights of us taking turns using the ceiling and walls of the cabin as premium leg stretching space, wondering why we were hyperventilating every couple of hours before remembering we were in an air lock.  And taking turns to brave the 3 second hatch door cranks for air (and the time an almighty dunk of water snuck through the millimeters of air space in them!)  They [Mick and Sparky] are actual legends bobbing about out there so close and yet so far.

I just hope in the absence of being able to get the stove on they’ve not resorted to Rocky [The team’s stuffed toy mascot] sashimi!  We thought we had quite the final test rowing in big waves, high winds and driving rain overnight across the Molokai channel.  But this smashes our out of the park!  They’re actual heroes!

As our teams that have already arrived still acclimate to being off the ocean, they are still catching up on everything that happened on the other boats.  Evan also wrote to us:

I think I heard that Sparky was able to see the stars at some point in their row.  That is such an uplifting thing to hear, and that the Great Pacific Race had a hand in making it happen.  You have no idea how uplifting that report is to everyone who has been following.

Sparky and Mick are both absolute inspirations.  In conjunction with Dragon Coin their primary sponsors, we are planning a very exciting arrival for them, once they conquer this last obstacle.

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.  You can also purchase a lei or a beverage for them during their arrival by CLICKING HERE.

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 –  151 NM to finish, Rowed 2370 NM
Team Attack Poverty/ Anne:  RETIRED
Team Ripple Effect/ Ripple Effect: RETIRED