NOMEN everywhere

Wed 24 Jul 2013 16:23
Stage one of the NOMAN Barcelona to Ibiza race has finished with Danielle taking a lead of 3.75 miles into stage two.
The crews of both boats are aboard the support boat “Rozamar” and both Isabel and Danielle are under tow and in transit towards the start of stage two. The cabins, decks and companionways of the support yacht resemble a field hospital with exhausted NOMEN resting between the two stages in every available space.
Why has this event become a stage race? An ocean rowing boat’s average speed is generally around 3 to 4 knots (nautical miles per hour) in still conditions and the ability of a crew (even one filled with enthusiastic NOMEN) really struggle to beat into a headwind of any strength is limited. Most routes selected by ocean rowers are based on the prevailing conditions at that time of year. However, for the last 3 weeks the prevailing light northerly winds have been replaced by winds from the south. Ever since leaving Barcelona the crews have been battling into headwinds of various strengths (gusting upwards of 20 knots). Needless to say that in this race both crews have pushing themselves harder than ever before, and their speed to date shows how hard they have been working.
Yesterday afternoon the crews encountered increasingly strong southerly winds. After battling flat out for more than 12 hours into the weather the NOMEN had scratched out a handful of miles and only when the wind dropped overnight was any reasonable forward progress achieved.
This morning the NOMEN were greeted by sunrise and an increase in the wind speeds. A check of the weather report by the New Ocean Wave support team revealed that there was unlikely to be a change to this weather pattern in the next few days. On the basis of this information we contacted both crews and suggested the concept of changing this year’s event to a stage race which was accepted by the NOMEN who were awake.
Personally I’ve been amazed by the commitment and dedication that each member of the crews have demonstrated. Everyone has pushed themselves harder and further than they thought possible and everyone is well outside their comfort zone.  The NOMEN will have a brief respite allowing them to remember what comfort feels like, before 10 hours later being put back into their boats with the added pressure of a shorter stage before the finish.
We’ll update you again at the staggered start of stage two which is expected to begin at 00:00 local time on the 24th July.
That’s all for now from the Support team – Chris Martin