Ocean Sheroes Great Pacific Rowing Race for charity

Two Week Update from the Ocean Sheroes

In Environment, Team News by Rose Boex

Ocean Sheroes Great Pacific Rowing Race for charity
Two weeks into the Great Pacific Race, our Ocean Sheroes are pushing closer to Hawaii every day. With shifts of two hours on and two hours off, the team are persevering through lack of sleep and the constant challenge of getting back onto the oars (often in wet clothing). Burning 6500-7500 calories a day, they must use their downtime wisely to ensure they are re-fuelling their bodies.
Distance Rowed: 944NM      |      Distance to Finish: 1367NM      |      Total Days Complete: 17

The race has already displayed the Pacific Ocean’s ever-changing weather conditions. The week began with strong winds and unpredictable wave directions, leading to a top speed of 12.6 knots and a broken dagger board. Since then the Pacific has flattened out, giving the Sheroes time to dry out their soaking clothes and treat Fenris to some maintenance.

The team are loving your messages of support, so please keep 'em coming: [email protected]

Ocean Sheroes Great Pacific Rowing Race for charity
P’s latest news from Fenris

We let out a whoop whoop at last night’s sunset as we reached the end of two weeks at sea! 

In stark contrast to the assault on the body, mind and soul of week one, this week we have found ourselves in calmer seas and sunshine. We're adapting to life on the boat and have found good routines and ways of moving around each other and the boat with ease. We're making progress albeit on some days slowly. There are mixed currents around and we can find ourselves rowing through what feels like treacle. Combine that with the wind in the wrong direction, we have to dig deep for our 2 hour shifts. These days are tough going with the searing sun glaring down on us but our mantra is to keep chipping away and every stroke gets us closer to Hawaii. Today is particularly scorching by 2pm we have already drunk 4 litres of water each and the cabins are stifling and airless. But it is utterly beautiful with millpond seas as glassy and silky as you can imagine. We keep hoping for wind and waves in the right direction, we're told they are coming and have been whistling and singing to the wind God’s! 

Life on board has settled it is simplistic and almost primal. We eat, sleep, row, repeat. We eat food directly from freeze-dried packets with a spoon, our only cutlery on board. For those who know me well, I know this will be received with shock and horror!  We pee and poo in a bucket on deck with a distinct lack of privacy which somehow now seems to be just normal! Bella is claiming the World Record for the fastest poo in a bucket clocked at 5.6 knots while surfing a wave!

We wear the same set of clothes (unless naked rowing!), hand-washing our clothes once a week and pegging out to dry on the safety rails. We wash ourselves with wet wipes - 20 per person per day is the ration, big thanks to My Pura for giving us the stash which are biodegradable and marine safe.  Pleased to report toothbrushing is up to twice a day and hair oiling and brushing every couple of days to remove the build-up of salt crystals.

Our bodies are just about holding up, blisters on hands and feet, aching knees and backs. Shoulder blades tight and sunburn are all part of our daily challenges. Despite the enormous amount of  food on board we are all losing weight as a muscles start to deplete and we tuck into our reserves. Our snack packs get us through with mango and chocolate high currency on the boat. The Resilient Nutrition nut butter pouches get us through those brutal middle of the night shifts. The night shifts are by far the hardest part of the day I'm on  12-2am and the 4-6 am shifts. No part of you wants to get up for these and every night I ask myself, are you really going to do this for another 30 days? Seems crazy that would even be possible but somehow the days roll into the nights and one day to the next. So here we are, 2 weeks completed at sea, hurrah to that! 

The best thing so far, we are truly living life in the present moment, thinking only about what we are doing in that moment, rowing, resting, listening to music etc.  I'm the self-nominated chef on board spending about 45 mins a day making food for the girls. There is something so pleasing about seeing how a meal brings a smile to their faces. Especially breakfast. It's the last thing I want to do at 6 am after my 2 hour shift but it is the thing that sets everyone off on the right note for the day and so it's about showing up for everyone. 

We found ourselves on para anchor for a few hours this week as we battled to keep the boat moving forward against the wind and waves. We were just about managing it but we were broken after a relentless 12 hours and at the end of each shift we were all getting scratchy with each other and our minds and bodies exhausted. If one person stopped rowing for one stroke to get a sip of water, we lost pace .We chatted as a team and reminded ourselves this crossing is about us getting to the finish as friends having enjoyed the experience and whilst we are on track for the record, it is not our number one priority! How would we feel if we reached Hawaii a broken team with a record but no longer a team? So we deployed the para anchor, cleaned the boat, fixed one of the seats and did some general maintenance. We rested, slept and even opened a spa for a few hours! Bella and Mary did their nails, Lily her hair and I a mini facial. We chilled out on deck , sunbathed and chatted. 

A big learning this week for us all has been that nothing lasts for ever? A rubbish weather system, a hard shift, as sickness, tiredness, sad moods, they all pass and can change. We've all experienced highs and lows and the beauty of a team like this is when one person is struggling, everyone else rallies in support. 

Wildlife is minimal, we seem to be in deep waters  and there is a lack of it around. A solo turtle! An albatross, kingfishers and Bella saw an orca a few days ago. But what we have seen is rubbish, a reminder of one of the reasons why we are here, a floating buoy, fishing nets, plastic bottles and packaging. We can't collect it as it's impossible to steer the boat to retrieve it against the currents and so it floats on by. 

We've been blessed with more incredible night skies again, shooting stars so bright they light up the sky. So many small but beautiful stars, a growing moon and rising stars twinkling in the sky each night.  

Your messages from home are so welcome and joyful to read, the much needed boost we need to keep going, thank you to you all who have taken time to write and those who have donated too.

Read P's last diary entry here.

Flexi-Hex team 270 Challenge

A little closer to home, those partaking in the Flexi-Hex 270 Challenge are working hard to conquer the 270 mile goal by whatever means necessary. Teams of four have been surfing, paddle-boarding, horse riding and cycling to increase donations for the amazing Seabin Project. Only 2 weeks in and already three teams have smashed their 270 miles!

Flexi-Hex 270 Challenge Leader board:

1st place: MIMO Connect – 615 miles
2nd place: Thakeham Group - 494 miles
3rd place: Dohle Yachts, Fort Anne Forty Somethings - 489 miles

Make sure you follow the Ocean Sheroes' journey on Instagram and the YB Races tracker app. As it stands, £12,141 has been raised for the Seabin Project so please keep the donations coming and help the Ocean Sheroes reach their £60,000 target!