Update June 2018: For news about the 2018 race (happening now) and to track the five boats & teams, visit the Great Pacific Race.
In 7 days, 1 hour, 25 minutes, 59 seconds (as of this writing) — that is, on June 7 at 10 a.m. — 13 rowing boats will launch from Monterey for a 2,400-mile (3862-km) race across the Pacific to Hawaii. The Great Pacific Race, advertised as the “biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet,” has chosen Monterey Bay as its starting point this year. What’s exciting for me is that the boats are currently in a staging/prep area in front of The Wharf Marketplace, one of my favorite local-products market.
If you like boats at all, you should go take a look. They vary in size (for 1-person, 2-person and 4-person crews) and design. Some appear somewhat low-tech and others amazingly high-tech. The crews include men and women from around the world ranging in age from 20+ to 65. (Crew bios hang near each boat.) The trip will take 30 to 90 days depending on crew, boat and conditions. (I overhead a group at lunch at the marketplace who assumed the boats were solar-powered, but couldn’t figure out why there were no propellers.) Several of the racers are rowing for ocean conservation (and need your help), in particular to highlight the issue of plastic pollution. It’s amazing what people can do when they put their minds (and bodies) to it! You can find many more details about the race website.
And, if you’re not busy on Saturday, June 7 (2014) at 10 a.m., watch the race start (weather permitting) and cheer on the rowers at McAbee Beach along Cannery Row. They say they’d love spectators from the shore and water (kayakers, paddleboarders, sailors – that’s you). Only 7 days, 50 minutes, 44 seconds to go.