One week from today I will embark on a voyage on a 57' Bowman Ketch sailing yacht from San Diego to Hawaii assisting (if needed) 13 teams of rowers out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Teams of 4, 2 and solo are rowing from Monterey, Californian to their final destination in Oahu, Hawaii for the Great Pacific Race.
As of July, 17th, the racers have been rowing for 38 days completely self sufficient. No help from the support yacht, making their own water, cooking their own food, sleeping on the boat, and navigating at night while rowing the whole time! We, a crew of six, leave San Diego next week to 'catch' the racers and give support or rescue, if needed. Follow the racers here at Yellowbrick. At the bottom of the page, click and drag the nav button to the left show the start of the race and the progress of the rowers. One solo rower, Elsa Hammond 29, is now rowing to Mexico and is out if the race. This woman is an inspiration. "She lasted longer than two male solo rowers — including one who had to be rescued" wrote the Monterey Herald
On a sailboat without the Interwebs, cellular service and cocktails (yes, not even wine), this will be both a spiritual and educational journey out at sea for over 5 weeks helping these rowers complete their goals and finish "the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet". At first I was talking myself out of the adventure and coming up with all kinds of kookie reasons why I shouldn't go i.e. watering my plants. After a dinner with my brother Mike on the 4Th of July, it was decided that I would stop talking myself out of adventure and just go! Great advice Mike.
The boat is named Cloud Nine. She's a 57' Bowman Ketch that has rounded the world three times on expeditions and one of the first to completed the North West Passage while Roger Swanson was her captain. "Rare is the sailing resume that boasts 217,928 miles, three circumnavigations, multiple voyages through the Arctic and Antarctic and the first east-west crossing of the Northwest Passage by an American-flagged sailboat. Pretty impressive for a Midwestern-born pig farmer-cum-electrical engineer-cum-entrepreneur, but no one ever accused Roger Swanson, of Dunnell, Minnesota, of mediocrity. Swanson, who sadly passed away at the age of 81 on December 25, 2012 after a battle with cancer." Sailmagazine.com
She's beautiful and tough!
Photo by Roger Swanson
I don't know much more than that, really. My friend Ellen introduced me to the skipper. I called the skipper. We talked. The skipper purchased my plane ticket to San Diego and I leave next week.
At sea for 5 to 6 weeks as support to the teams racing and doing 'arts and crafts' on the boat, this means sanding and varnishing and 4 on, 8 off. Crewing on a boat of 6 -- on watch or duty for 4 hours, then 8 hours off duty to sleep, read, collect samples for the 5 Gyres.
5 Gyers' mission is to "conduct research and communicate about the global impact of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and employ strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution in the 5 subtropical gyres."
Each day I will dedicate time to the 5 Gyres Marine Debris Observations with a one-hour observations where I log all the trash that I see floating on the ocean surface.
Once all team finish and are safely on shore in Hawaii, Cloud Nine will rest at the Kaneohe Yacht Club. That's when the surfboards come out
For more information, cheack out New Ocean Wave's website.