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Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Race 5, Report 10: More Atlantic Antics

Posted on: 14.08.17

The long race across the Atlantic continues for the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.  But, apart from a battle between Vahine and Peter Von Danzig, who have swopped positions at the bottom of the corrected time leader board, there has been no change in fleet positions. Meanwhile, the crews are continuing to spot wildlife, celebrate birthdays (with yet more cake), learn knots and amuse themselves with crazy games. Sounds like they’re having a GREAT time!

PositionS overall and by class – on corrected time:

  1. Oosterschelde (Netherlands) (1st Class A)
  2. Jolie Brise (UK) (1st Class B)
  3. Blue Clipper (UK) (2nd Class B)
  4. Gulden Leeuw (Netherlands) (2nd Class A)
  5. Atyla (Vanuatu) (3rd Class B)
  6. Rona II (UK) (1st Class C/D)
  7. Regina Germania (Germany) (2nd Class C/D)
  8. Spaniel (Latvia) (3rd Class C/D)
  9. Alexander Von Humboldt II (Germany) (3rd Class A)
  10. Vahine (Finland) (4th Class C/D)
  11. Peter Von Danzig (Germany) (5th Class C/D)

Watch the action as it happens and follow the fleet’s progress using YB Satellite Tracking.


Hardly any wind: Maggi and Robynne, Oosterschelde

10 August: Over the last few days we have had hardly any wind. As of this morning we were officially number one in the tall ships’ floating race, being overtaken even by the friendly shearwater birds bobbing along beside us.

The majority of the past two days have been foggy with an almost ghost-like eeriness. Yesterday we had a brief ray of sunshine so we took the opportunity to wipe down the worst of the salt from the ships’ superstructure.

Later we had a lesson on the sun, sextant and ocean navigation from Jan-Willem, but unfortunately it was too foggy to see the horizon so we have not yet had an opportunity to put it into practice. We tried raising the course (large sail) to take more advantage of what little wind we had, but this did nothing to increase our speed. Lowering the course in the middle of the night was interesting and our initial attempts at stowing it resulted in a partly folded shamble of sail. Finally, after a second attempt we ended up with a nicely flaked and folded sail all wrapped up like a Christmas present ready for placing under the tree. This at least made the night watch go faster and helped to keep us warm.

The sunsets over the last few days have been spectacular, with deep reds and oranges stretching across the skies, with the full moon opposite in a beautiful golden glow against the dark blue sky.

Today we celebrated Warren’s birthday with singing and a large cake sporting a blueberry sheep (Warren is from New Zealand) which was absolutely delicious.

As I type this it is raining on deck. I can hear the sails flapping and some of the rigging tapping against the mast and stays. The ships navigation software has our current estimated arrival date as 23 September. We hope for more wind soon.

Catching up: Nick and Max, Alexander von Humboldt II

9 August: Today the winds were definitely in our favour, we reached speeds of 11.8 knots and completed about 200 nautical miles.  Because of this everyone has been in a great mood and has been soaking up as much time on deck as possible, despite the cold and damp conditions. Along with this fantastic sailing weather crew training has been going on, painting parts of the ship that are rusty, and learning how to tie important knots and splice ropes. All in all, a great day for sailing and learning alike.

Weather: 19° Total sea miles:  919

10 August: Unlike yesterday, the weather is calm and hot with basically no wind or clouds. This isn’t ideal sailing weather and we have been travelling at approximately four knots. Due to these circumstances the watches have been relatively quiet and it has been a good day to relax and soak up the sunshine. We continued working on various knots or hitches such as the bowline, sheet bend, reef knot, clove hitch, round turn and figure of eight. Along with this the trainees who have been learning to splice are finishing up their projects today. We continue to see dolphins, whales and jellyfish on a daily basis but today was unique. There were about 50 dolphins following the ship for about an hour during sunset, it was a great moment for everyone.

Weather: 18 ° C Total sea miles: 1140

11 August: Today was once again basically three knots. Seeing as how there was not much work to be done with the sail, we spent lots of time talking, laughing and napping. The sunrise and sunset were both incredible today as well so there were lots of photos being taken.

Weather:  20 ° C Total sea miles: 1281

Rona II vs The Beast: Rona II

14 August: If I’d written “Rona vs. The Beast” at the beginning of the trip you would probably have thought I would be referring to the Atlantic as “The Beast”. But, this really isn’t the case. For some unknown reason Viking Watch Leader Matt Woodcock has decided to give me, Olly Jones, this nickname. Claiming he overheard me making some outlandish claims on the foredeck such as “I’m the strongest man on the boat” and “I’ll beat you all in a strength contest” this nickname has stuck. I’m regularly welcomed onto night watch with screams of “UNLEASH THE BEAST” and when we need a sail hoisted they will shout “WE SUMMON THE BEAST”. Fully embracing this title I’ve shown the little whippersnappers of Viking watch how to properly do a racing headsail change and sheet in the spinnaker.

Today happens to be my boat birthday and also Chinese New Year according to the boat calendar. At this point I’d like to say that I think everyone on the boat is going a little stir crazy and as such today has taken what I would describe as a slightly odd turn. Chinese New Year on the boat has kicked off the Year of the Beast and to celebrate this today Rona II has hosted the first “Beastlympics”. At the point of writing the score is The Beast: 1 and The Crew: 2 with events consisting so far of holding a coiled rope out in front of yourself for as long as possible (turns out Watch Officers Nathan Meager and George Hopkins are pretty beasty themselves), a lemon juice drinking competition and challenge involving moving peanuts from one bowl to another with chopsticks and then eating them as fast as possible. Little did I know spice girl Sam Nathan, named because he puts Tabasco in literally every meal he’s involved with, had spiked the peanuts with some extremely spicy flavouring so all the crew came out begging for water. I’m just letting my watch’s creativity go a bit wild and just seeing where it goes. But I’d like to give the crew of Rona II one piece of advice: you don’t mess with the Beast and come out the other side in one piece. Watch this space…

Viking Chieftain Paul Wayman surprised everyone when he pulled 23 pairs of chopsticks out of his bag this morning and challenged everyone to eat their risotto lunch with these implements. Twenty-two of the crew took this completely in their stride and wolfed down their delicious lunch. However, Matt Robinson proved he is completely culturally unaware when he requested three pairs of chopsticks just for himself. From these he held four in one hand and made some kind of spoon-like implement and then held two in the other and used these as a fork. He thought this was an ingenious idea despite the amount of abuse being chucked at him.

We do dabble in some sailing too. We’ve been storming along today with the top speed being 13.4 knots, and have been consistently sailing above nine knots for most of the day. Spinnakers have been up and down and we’ve tested out the white sails as well. It’s been a cracking day on deck made all the better for seeing the sun for the first time in six days. This was much to the excitement of everyone and before we knew it there were sunglasses, sextants and mankinis out on deck. Looks at the moment like we’re due in on the 17th, we’ve got some exciting sailing ahead to say the least.

Calls of “Summon the Beast” are now echoing around the saloon and I can see four bowls of cheesecake and Lewis tying back his hair. Something tells me this is the challenge that they told me would require me to shower after. Beast out.

Half-half party: Oosterschelde

13 August: Yesterday we thought we’d celebrate the fact we are halfway. The half-half party. Punch, popcorn, music and crew dressed up in a form of half-half. Besides the halfway fact, we also set our 24-hour distance record to 215 miles! Another 1100 mile to the finish line.

Photo: Tall Ships Block. Valery Vasilevskiy