Monterey County

13 teams vie for the title in 'Great Pacific Race'

Teams leave Monterey for Honolulu Monday

Teams practice for Great Pacific Race

MONTEREY, Calif. - - "It's one big adventure, almost epic", says rower Andre Kiers from the Netherlands.

The 'Great Pacific Race' is an intrepid adventure to be sure according to Roz Savage, "We have thirteen crews here about to row 2,400 miles from Monterey to Honolulu."

On Saturday the crews tested the water in Monterey Bay for 10 miles, just ahead of Monday's starting gun. Americans, French, British, young men, young women and even a 65-year-old man are all in it for the long haul, the inaugural 'Great Pacific Race.'

So why do it, almost 3 months at sea in an ocean going row boat? "Why not, other people do it. They achieve their goals so why not us?" says Kiers. Kiers is rowing with a team mate from New Zealand, a South Korean and a member of the United Kingdom. Together they form the 'Uniting Nations' team.

For the next two to three months the teams will be on the water. While two of them are rowing, two of them will be sleeping in the cabin on their boats. Then they'll switch places. They'll be packing freeze dried food for the journey.

As training wound down, the teams continue to experience Monterey restaurants, renting local housing, and going to the movies.

The Wharf Marketplace has benefited economically for the past month by the presence of these adventurers. Employee Marcus McClary said, "If we could do this again every year let's do it."

The Monterey Yacht Club was instrumental in making Monterey the launching point. Club spokesman Joe Headley said, "You're talking several hundred dollars a day each individual spends."

Savage appreciated the hospitality, "We were welcomed in with open arms by the city of Monterey." Savage is the only woman to row the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans by herself. "We'll run into big waves out there they could be 20, 30 foot and the winds and the currents really have you in their grip." Savage says she wants to pass the thrill of this sport on to new rowers and thrill seekers.

Says Kiers, "Aim for your goals, go for it and go hard."

Click here to view the rowers' progress.

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