Shortly after 48 hours into the race the stronger winds of the day gave away to lighter winds in the evening. It was still pushing the crews backwards but with more of a lighter touch compared to the sledgehammer experienced earlier in the day. As the winds started to ease off the crews took two slightly different approaches to the last few miles of the course.
The race course calls for all crews to round a point to the west of Barcelona to ensure that they stay out of the way of the shipping lanes which run in and out of Barcelona (one of the busiest commercial ports on the Mediterranean). This waypoint is around 25nm away from the finish and crews often try to row as close to it as possible to minimise the total distance travelled.
Last night as the crews broke through the 50 hours at sea marker they were separated by about an hour. As the wind started to drop Team ROWBOTS were able to turn directly towards the waypoint and started to make progress towards it. However, they may not have noticed that the winds of the day had forced them to be further north of the waypoint than they might have liked. The waypoint just needs to be passed to the starboard side of the vessel. There’s nothing to say how close you have to be to the waypoint. Looking at the tracker we can see that Team ROWBOTS fight hard to get close to the waypoint and then bear away back on a more northerly route towards the finish. At the same time Team Jamison pressed on a more northerly route seeking out a favourable current their first aid instructor had mentioned to them.
As it worked out the lead which Team ROWBOTS had fought for during the battle with the wind from the east was slightly eroded down to about 45 minutes by dawn on their final morning at sea the crews remained incredibly close to each other. Exhausted after their standard 60 minutes on, 60 minutes off routine they shortened the shifts for the last few hours to 45 minutes on, 45 minutes off and the gamble paid off. As they came past Barcelona Airport Team at 08:00 Team ROWBOTS had been able to maintain their lead and then were somehow able to find another gear and push on even faster for the final two hours.
The crews finished an incredible 1 hour 10 minutes apart, the closest finish in the Row to End HPV race. All that remained was for the crews to row into Port Vell in the heart of Barcelona surrounded by super yachts and classic architecture. What an incredible end to a truly memorable race.