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Great Pacific Race has winner: Uniting Nations

Great Pacific Race was won by Team Uniting Nations with four-man crew that had never met. Photo courtesy of Great Pacific Race
Great Pacific Race was won by Team Uniting Nations with four-man crew that had never met. Photo courtesy of Great Pacific Race

After 43 days, 5 hours, and 30 minutes of rowing a boat about the size of a walk-in closest, Team Uniting Nations rowed into Hawaii on Tuesday afternoon to complete a 2,400-mile journey from Monterey, California, and win the inaugural Great Pacific Race.

Not only that, the team of Craig Hackett (New Zealand), Caspar Zafer (U.K.), Andre Kiers (the Netherlands), and Junho Choi (South Korea) became the first four-man rowing team to make this crossing of the Pacific Ocean thereby establishing a Guinness World Record.

Individually, Hackett became the first New Zealander to row the Pacific, and Choi was the first Korean to row any ocean.

The trophy for future four-person winners of the Great Pacific Race will henceforth be named The Uniting Nations Trophy.

"Seeing this record-setting team from all corners of the globe arrive in Hawaii, after spending more than a month racing from Monterey in the Great Pacific Race is testament to the power of the human spirit," race director Chris Martin said. "They have battled against their peers in other boats, the adverse weather and overcome broken equipment to win the biggest, baddest human endurance race on the planet."

KITV in Hawaii has this report:

Uniting Nations was made up of crew members from four countries that had never met until meeting in Monterey a month before the June 9 start of the race.

Though they exchanged cross words with each other at difficult times, they are said to have become close friends. Zager talked to KITV about the experience.

[Related: Sami Inkinen to row ocean with fat for fuel]

"You got so much time on your hands cause you are essentially rowing 12 hours a day—one hour on, one hour off," he said. "You sleep for 50 minutes, then you get ready to row. You have a lot of time to think. You really go through everything. It can get really dark; it can get really happy."

Crew members of Team Uniting Nations, winner of Great Pacific Race. Photo courtesy of Great Pacific Race
Crew members of Team Uniting Nations, winner of Great Pacific Race. Photo courtesy of Great Pacific Race

Uniting Nations faced several trials, and rowing in 40-foot swells was the least of them. About eight days after leaving California, the electric watermaker stopped working, forcing the crew to use a manual hand pump desalinator to turn ocean water into drinking water.

Two weeks before arriving in Waikiki, the first seat ceased working, forcing the rower to use only his arms for rowing and not his legs. A week later, the other seat stopped working. The crew members were forced to use nothing but their upper bodies to row.

Of 13 boats that were to start the race, only six remain. The last of the solo rowers, Elsa Hammond, decided to change course to Mexico.

You can track the remaining teams here.

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