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Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Race 5, Report 12: Living With That Heeling Feeling

Posted on: 16.08.17

Crews of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta report they are adapting to life on the edge as the vessels are now sailing closer to the wind and the inevitable repercussions of this is ‘heeling’ – to lean or tip under the influence of the wind on sails. Heeling is a normal characteristic of any sailing vessel, and is controlled by the ballast and underwater design of the boat.  Read on for our latest crew news!

PositionS overall and by class – on corrected time:

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


Life at 30 degrees: Rona II

16 August: We wished the title referred to the current weather situation and in some ways it does, but to the temperature it does not. In fact it refers to the current heel angle at which this blog is being written. After what was our final gybe of the race the run into the finish line has begun with winds north of 30 knots expected overnight. The current weather is bouncing the boat around and sending the pulpit ‘waist deep’ according to one crew member; we would however like to point out he forgot those are in fact his ankles.

However not all is bad.Throughout the crossing personal items have been misplaced by almost every crew member. We had the case of the missing Big Mac sauce, numerous missing head torches, and I myself saw my trainers this morning for the first time in two weeks. None of these curious cases however, have come close to an event that happened on a four hour Mayan watch yesterday. Throughout the trip, the crew of Rona II have commissioned the ‘junk bunk’. We have two official junk bunks operating on board; one of the watch leader bunks, and one of the crew. When, however, the presence of these locations became known to the mate and skipper, they were swiftly dismantled. During the process, the on deck Mayans were given a list of accumulated items, and were asked to claim their own. Embarrassingly, when the end of the list was reached, every item from the two bunks had been claimed by the one watch.

Before the wind shifted round an attempt was made at hoisting the newly repaired asymmetric spinnaker only to have one of the repairs fail and the kite was subsequently dropped repaired and bagged. With the wind shifting on us the downwind mizzen staysail was dropped to the delight of the helmsmen, who could now see where they were heading for the first time in ages.

The heel ever present, mother watch was a task today but all powered through and time was even spared to prepare and perform an alternative St. David’s day story. On watches have done a sterling job with multiple headsail changes and reefs put in even through adverse conditions. At times it often feels like a rollercoaster below, with flying tortilla chips taking centre (and back) stage over dinner. Due on deck in three hours and yet to experience this sort of weather and I find myself clutching my shower gel wondering whether the foredeck would compare to a shore based shower pressure. On a more serious note everybody is in full race mode and sailing the boat hard and fast reaching speeds of 10 knots with two reefs in the main and the No. 2 Yankee up, pelting towards our finish line.

Two hours later…

It is now blowing between a Force 7 and a Force 8. Our current rig is the number 3 Yankee, staysail and main (three reefs). There’s water running over the deck and through the cockpit but over the howl of the wind the cry of Viking watch’s song can still be heard … !

Catching up: Max, Alexander Von Humboldt II

12 August: Today was an all around uneventful day. From the early morning to late night there were clear skies and next to no wind. During the day the sun was shining and everyone had a chance to enjoy some nice weather before the incoming storm (tomorrow). The average sailing speed was around 4 knots, so therefore not much ground was covered. So far the meals have been consistently good and everyone is excited to continue sailing.

13 August: Today there was a little to no winds, with an average speed of three knots.The day seemed pretty normal until at about 2pm we received news on the intercom that everyone was to meet out on the main deck. The reason for this was to play a series of very fun sailing-based games all called “Neptune’s Games”. These consisted of the watches in games such as who can hang on a rope the longest, who can raise a sail the fastest, who can throw a heaving line into the mini swimming pool and who can win tug of war. These games were played with watches going against each other (0-4, 4-8, 8-12) and the 4-8 watch (my watch) won by a few points all together.

To signify the end of these games all of the crew were “christened” in a six by four foot pool in the middle of the main deck to pass the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and to receive, once again, a shot of rum to sail well cleaned outside and inside from the New World to the Old World.

14 August: Today, unlike yesterday, was very cold and rainy. The average speed for the majority of the day was 8-9 knots so that gave everyone a great chance to work on sailing techniques and experience the boat at a 20 degree angle.

Banner and feature image: On the bow sprit –  Valery Vasilevskiy