The race committee had been carefully studying the weather ahead of the 2nd race of the NOMAN is an Island: Row to End HPV 2021 from Ibiza to Barcelona. At the allocated start time of 09:00 and for the 6 hours afterwards, the winds over the first section of the route were forecast to be pretty strong with even stronger gusts and with a high chance of lightning and heavy rain. The good news was that after this patch of grotty weather blew through, normal service would be resumed with the winds dropping overnight and a decreasing sea state. The decision was therefore made to push back the race start to 17:00
As forecast the morning’s climatic conditions escalated pretty quickly with lightning forking across the sky and torrential rainfall turning the streets of Ibiza into streams. Just as quickly as it had arrived the weather blew out to sea and black clouds were replaced by blue sky and the heat of the Balearic sunshine was restored to standard baking hot, factory settings. The wind was still blowing from the east but not nearly as hard as it had been and we knew that it would only continue to decrease as the evening continued.
At the allotted hour the crews were ready and both teams have rowing pedigree. Team ROWBOTS all rowed at school or university and Team Jamison are all coastal rowers with plenty of rough water racing under their belts. Despite having one fewer oarsmen could Team Jamison use their rough water rowing skills to take the lead? Or would the additional rest Team ROWBOTS crew were able to have, help them forge ahead.
The wind had died off a lot in the afternoon but there was still a fairly stiff 10kts of breeze pushing against the crews as they smashed through the start line and forged ahead. Those of us watching from shore were instantly impressed with the level of commitment that both crews demonstrated as well as the level of technical skill and ability that was on show as they pushed ahead into the waves. Within an instant the crews had rounded the first rocky island outcrop and were targeting the gap between the island of Ibiza and Ille Tagomago off the south eastern shoreline.
Team Jamison edged into the lead in the first quarter of a mile and continue to sit slightly ahead of their competition. They had slightly extended their lead overnight but in the heat of the day the Irish contingent had wilted imperceptibly under the heat of the Mediterranean sun and Team ROWBOTS closed the gap to under half a mile. At the time of writing it would appear that ROWBOTS are beginning to edge ahead. But there is a long way still to row until Barcelona....
Ladies and Gentlemen we have a battle royale on our hands! It’s impossible to look away.