Thursday, July 28th, 2016 – Race Day 53
WEATHER: The tradewinds are back in flow with a consistent 15-20 knots ENE forecast for the next 24 hours.
Today we welcomed Sons of the Pacific to the shores of Hawaii. Erden Eruc and Louis Bird rowed for 54 days and 42 minutes, crossing the finish line at 3:42 pm local time in order to complete their crossing.
This row was very significant in many ways. Even though it was just last October when Louis Bird decided to row the Pacific, and only days before they left Monterey that Erden joined the team, this particular story has been years in the making.
Louis’ original rowing partner had to cancel due to appendicitis – news which Louis received after stepping off a long-haul flight from England. Louis was not sure what to do at this point, but somehow had faith that everything would work out. That’s just the way Louis is.
The week before the start, Louis traveled from Monterey to San Francisco for the memorial service of Kenneth Crutchlow. Kenneth founded the Ocean Rowing Society in 1983 and was a dear friend of Louis’ father. It was at this service that Louis met Nancy Board, the wife of Erden Eruc. When Nancy heard Louis’ story, she said, “you must speak to my husband.” Nancy immediately gave Erden her blessing.
“I just couldn’t say no to this,” Erden told everyone this afternoon. “As an elder in the sport of ocean rowing, I saw it as my duty.”
Louis and Erden met for the first time in Monterey, just days before the start. Erden, who had 880 days of ocean rowing experience at that point, said to Louis who had never rowed a day on any ocean “Your duty is to make sure I don’t beat your dad’s record” which is 938 days of rowing on the ocean. The gauntlet had been dropped and Louis was up for the challenge!
Today, when we asked Erden about being such a last minute addition to the row he said “It just lined up so nicely with a lot of help from you guys too to get us off the dock. It was meant to be.”
With their crossing taking 54 days and 42 minutes, Erden is just four days shy of that all time record.
Upon their arrival, Louis said “I feel pretty emotional to be honest, and I hope that wherever my dad is that this will give some closure for both of us, because I’ve finally gotten to… I’ve finished off the… yeah – he’s at land as opposed to being at sea.” Louis was referencing the fact that his father, Peter Bird, was lost at sea in the Pacific twenty years ago when Louis was just 4 years old. Then to lighten the mood just a little, in that wonderfully charming way that Louis has he said “And I’m the first Bird to get to Honolulu by rowing boat and not crash it into Maui!”
Louis also told us “It doesn’t even feel completely real to be honest. My mind has gone to jelly. I’ve forgotten how to walk it seems, and I’m absolutely delighted to be here.”
Meanwhile, out on the Pacific …
Two teams remain out on the Pacific. Row Aloha is expected in tomorrow morning. The team of Todd and Rick are our local team as Todd lives here in O’hau and Rick hails from Monterey. We also have our girls on Fight the Kraken who will be arriving not that long after. Family and friends of the Kraken girls started arriving today. It has been great having so many of our families and friends supporting all of the teams as they arrive here in Hawaii. This is a true testament to the the ever growing ocean rowing family.
PREDICTED ARRIVAL 07-27-16 @ 21:00 PST
CREWVMG RECENTVMG START
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 2:00 am PDT
1 Uniting Nations: FINISHED – 39 Days 9 Hours 56 Minutes
2 Team Ocean Hearts: FINISHED – 46 Days 17 Hours 47 Minutes
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – FINISHED – 48 Days 2 Hours 40 Minutes
4 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 54 Days 0 Hours 42 Minutes
5 Row Aloha: ROWING – 23 NM to finish, Rowed 2415 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 135 NM to finish, Rowed 2288 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM