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Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Race 5, Report 3: Race Restarted and News from the Crews

Posted on: 05.08.17

The race is back on and and we bring you lots of reports from the crews about their sea adventures. 

Firstly, Paul Bishop, Race Director at Sail Training International explains what’s been going on.

“The vessels have restarted the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta race leg from Halifax to Le Havre after the Race Committee decided to suspend the race until the wind became more favourable on Wednesday. The five-mile long start gate is in position 44° 30’N,   055° 00’W and vessels are expected to pass through it between 18:00 on Friday until 18:00 on Saturday. Individual start times will be applied. The weather is forecast to gradually swing around from the east to the more favourable west sector over the next few days.

“The interim results for the first 24 hours are as follows and these will be combined with the next phase from south of Newfoundland to the Eddystone lighthouse off the south west coast of England over 2,000 nautical miles away.”

Jolie Brise 1 1 Class B
Oosterschelde 1 2 Class A
Atyla 2 3 Class B
Blue Clipper 3 4 Class B
Gulden Leeuw 2 5 Class A
Alexander Von Humboldt 3 6 Class A
Regina Germania 1 7 Class C/D
Spaniel 2 8 Class C/D
Rona II 3 9 Class C/D
Vahine 4 10 Class C/D
Peter Von Danzig 5 11 Class C/D



Birthdays and Ocean Creatures: Hannson Paul, Phil Truchon, Gulden Leeuw

3 August “Second day ocean sailing is going well so far. Yesterday we had to take down all the sails and begin to use our engine towards the next checkpoint due to the lack of wind. Another vessel ran out of gas, Peter Von Danzig, so we defered from our path a little to give them a tow to where they could also find wind. After we get to the next checkpoint we will have a restart for the race.

“We have had a few birthday’s aboard the ship, the Captain’s birthday being the most recent. We celebrated with a bacon and egg breakfast and we also ate apple pie.

“Many ocean creatures have come to investigate the ship during our venture. We saw a large pack of dolphins, a moonfish, a couple whales and a seal, we named him Oskar.

“So far we have learned about all the different sails and the parts they have,including all the different names for the the sails and the different ropes. We also learned how to put on the immersion suits and life jackets and what to do in case of an emergence on the ship.”

Distance travelled last 24 hours: 145.29 Total distance travelled this voyage: 229.09 Distance to finish line: 2248nm

Learning the ropes: Arden Bernard, Karrie Sock, Gulden Leeuw

4 August “We went on the bow and were able to lay on the netting and be faced down towards the water. We saw dolphins, whales, sharks and a moon fish.We learned about different sails, ropes and where they are located and what they do. We learned and made wompams. Before we went to bed we sang shanties which was very uplifting. Anousch celebrated her birthday today.”

Distance travelled last 24 hours: 190.79nm Total distance travelled this voyage: 356.79nm Distance to finish line: 2130nm

First Days On Board – Maggi, Oosterschelde

1 August “The day started with a life jacket drill and general safety instructions. Then we got the boat ready, the trash was taken ashore and the harbour pilot came aboard. We started putting the sails up just after 10am in readiness for the parade of sail at 10.20. The lines were released which provided a little drama as one got snagged on a clamp on the pontoon as the boat was pulling away. It was eventually released with the efforts of the first mate Jan Schaeffer just as a running RDV official got to it, which was greeted with applause and laughter.

“As the sails were being hoisted, we motored down past the lighthouse on McNabs Island where we turned round and headed back past George’s Island close to the Dartmouth shore, lined with waving spectators as we headed towards MacDonald Bridge. Many small craft were milling around all the tall ships and there was a water cannon salute from the fireboat.

“We continued down the Halifax side of the harbour, fairly close to the wharfs and the famous boardwalk, with repeats of ‘Farewell to Nova Scotia’ blaring from the boat speaker as we danced on deck, and with occasional firing of the Oosterschelde cannon. This was returned with much waving and cheering from the huge crowds, a naval hand salute from the Governor of Nova Scotia and a gun salute from the Citadel’s military guards. Finally we passed Mt Pleasant Park and the islands, and motored eastwards towards the horizon beyond which Le Havre is waiting for us with more celebrations.

“Lunch was provided on deck as we continued out to sea, where there was the possibility of a delayed start due to light winds. However, the winds picked up and we sailed over the start line at 17.05 local time about 11 miles offshore, which we crossed 2nd just after the Gulden Leeuw with Alexander von Humboldt II behind us. THE RACE HAD BEGUN

“Before dinner, whales were spotted fairly close by and after dinner there was a celebration of the 70th birthday of Swiss national, Ernst Steingruber, where he was presented with a large chocolate cake and the singing of Happy Birthday. It was a double celebration for him as it was also Switzerland’s anniversary.

“The watch system had started in the afternoon, and we gradually headed towards midnight with continued light winds, a waxing moon and shooting stars in the sky.”

First Mast Climb – Denis, Oosterschelde

“Before the trip, my wife Johanne, who is also on the ship, asked me if I would climb up to the mast – my answer was ‘No way’ being 105 kg I do not give me an obvious head start to dance on rather a small looking rope.

“Anyhow, after exactly 24 hours of sailing, when our mate asked who in the red watch wanted to go and tie up the top square sails, I said OK!!

“The view was splendid and the work carried out as required. Tomorrow morning I will be good for some painful, long time forgotten muscles but it was worth it.”

Dolphins and Shark Ahoy – George Ayers, Oosterschelde

“There’s something exhilarating about watching a pod of dolphins approaching. The excitement of the crew seems somehow matched by the eagerness of the dolphins that greet this new found giant in their midst. They surround the ship, slipping and darting by us, their sleek forms visible as they launch through the waters chattering and frolicking, cutting under the bow and criss-crossing back. A huge pod came through on this morning’s watch. We stood mesmerized by their playfulness and freedom, shouting encouragement for the show to never end. It almost felt like we were the same – dolphins and humans – sentient and filled with joy. They were mere feet away – in fact enticingly just beyond reach. Finally these wonderful animals disengaged and moved off as we watched their bodies cascading through the water into the distance, their colours mixing with the swells. And then, once again, there were just waves.

“Later, we were at the stern, resting in the wheelhouse when a call went up – SHARK.The fin glided towards us- upright, cutting the water. It was inches below the water, it’s blue-grey body mirrored that of the sea, but it’s white underbelly gave it dimension. It was big, maybe nine feet long. A crew member grabbed a handbook and searched for types of sharks found in the north Atlantic. We decided it was a coastal shark that fed on mackerel and cod. The handbook wasn’t sure whether it would pose a danger to humans.  But unless sharks are vegetarians, let’s not tempt fate.”

First Days on Board: Nick and Max, Alexander Von Humboldt II

30 July “There are four beds per cabin with one bathroom, these rooms give trainees a great chance to meet their new bunk mates and build friendships. These cabins are also a good place to relax when given free time. The meals are at 7:30am, 12:00p,, and 5:30pm. Our first meal with our group was at the Halifax crew party. The crew party gave the trainees a chance to get to know one another and mingle with other groups. The food was hamburgers, hotdogs, and various desserts along with two free beers or soft drinks.They also offered live music and a very entertaining light show. After this the majority of the trainees went to experience Halifax.”

Watches and Orientation: Nick and Max, Alexander Von Humboldt II

31 July “Today we all were assigned our watches on the ship, we got to meet the group of people that we would be working with for the rest of our journey across the Atlantic. In these watches we worked on things such as orienting ourselves with the ropes and sails and their names and uses. The working language on board is German so therefore we are learning these sailing terms in a new language. This is a great opportunity to establish a group mentality while simultaneously learning some words and phrases in a new language. After orientation we continued to meet new people and explore the city.”

Last Day on Land: Nick and Max, Alexander Von Humboldt II

1 August “Today we departed the port of Halifax at 11:00 AM, this was an all hands on deck maneuver. As we sailed out of the harbour we got to experience the 7-3-1 chant where we slapped our knees and clapped our hands 7-3-1time(s) while waving farewell to the kind people of Halifax.

“This was our last chance to communicate with our friends and family before Le Havre.  We also spent much time attempting to sail but the winds were not in our favour. Along with this departure came a hand full of people that unfortunately experienced some sea sickness. We left Halifax with nothing but excitement and a yearning for the adventure to come.”

Renewables Revolution and Poetry: The Rona Rambler, Rona II

4 August “After a fiercely contested interview process, Matt Clark has been named Rona II’s ‘deputy director of renewable resources’. Mr Clark, 17, claimed the coveted position after a stellar performance under intense scrutiny from nterviewers Nathan Meager and Callum Buchanan.

“Mr Meager and Mr Buchanan said they were particularly impressed by Clark’s enthusiasm for the role. When asked, ‘if you could change one thing about the lazarette, what would it be?’, he replied, ‘nothing, it’s perfect as it is’. Not all applicants displayed such passion. Cameron Fall-Everett, when asked why he wanted the job, responded, ‘I don’t’, explaining that he had only really applied out of a sense of obligation.

“As deputy director, a role also known, less poetically, as ‘laz rat’, Mr Clark will spend much of his time sorting recycling in the lazarette. While many might not immediately see the glamour of spending long hours shunting bin bags of crushed tins around a dark, dank, cramped space, though, Mr Clark sees the post as a golden opportunity. He declared he was ‘honoured’ to have the opportunity to lead Rona II onto the next stage of her unfolding recycling journey, going forward. The crew wishes him well.

“After the intensity and drama of the renewable resources interviews, today has had a gentler quality. Proceeding towards the revised start line under a combination of power and sail, as the changeable winds allowed, the Mayans were treated to the latest in the ship’s ‘an audience with’ series. This time crew member Theo Darlow was under the spotlight, providing an insight into the world of the international rower. The Mayans also indulged in some cloud spotting, extended their lead in the inter-watch quiz competition (today’s round focused on chocolate, a subject on which skipper Gareth Parker appears to be an expert), and were treated to a masterclass in ‘whipping’: not the form of naval discipline, but rather the art of preserving the ends of sheets and lines – by watch officer Nathan.

“Viking watch, meanwhile, have led the tributes to their watch officer, Paul Wayman,on his ‘boat birthday’. Their offerings to their fearless leader include a potato print and a poem:

The Viking Chieftain, fierce and proud, surveys his glorious realm
Where crested waves like steeds abound, which charge the trembling helm.
And deep within his longboat the other tribes prepare
To battle with the elements, and spar with Odin’s heir.

Yet from the bowels of this fell ship begins a mighty roar
Which throws the ‘tidy’ sailing kit across the rumbling floor.
Greater than Thor’s renowned fires, harsher than Loki’s word
Perhaps a dragon full of ire, or the wingbeats of wrathful birds.

Oh no – that’s Angus’ snoring.

“Lunch was a slightly more prosaic affair, but none the worse for it; a hearty, death-by-carbs lunch of pesto pasta with bread. The former was spiced up with pepperami, described by George Hopkins as a ‘cheeky’ culinary masterstroke, while the latter, crafted by Alex Macfarlane, was gloriously light and fluffy. After lunch, as the wind died away and the sea remained calm, skipper Gareth Parker and mate Andy Wright decided the moment was ripe for a group swim. Led by Mr Wright, the crew plunged over the side, splashing into waters over 2500 metres deep. A glorious afternoon was rounded off by the appearance of a pod of spinning dolphins soaring from thewater as the crew munched on flapjacks prepared by Viking watch.”

French Day: Alex and Olly, Rona II

3 August “This was a very French start to a very French day.  At 0900 the Tricolor was hoisted to signify the start of Bastille Day on board Rona II. Our culinary stars for the day, mother watch the Mayans, started well, with them presenting the crew with great pancakes and only a small galley incident that the mother watch insisted was “flambéing.”

“Matt (Woodcock – we’ve got three Matts) was woken up for his watch to the merry sound of mother watch singing Bonne Anniversaire and providing “le porridge” to start his birthday. His card, beautifully drawn by Watch Officer Nathan’s sons Tay and Cai before we left, was also presented. Mother watch in fact kept themselves very busy today by baking various cakes, three excellent meals, and three varieties of bread, including a plaited loaf “they quickly whipped up” between meals!

“The skipper’s quiz started today with a political history round featuring questions such as ” A Norwegian politician became a puppet leader of his country during the second world war, and his name became a byword for treachery. Who was he?” As you would imagine we of course knew the answer…

“The highlight of Bastille Day for many was a surprisingly tuneful and well-acted performance of ‘Confrontation’ from Les Miserables, performed by a mixture of Mayans and Vikings, but mainly Normantons.

“Many of the crew decided to have their first cold salt water shower on the aft deck and now the boat resembles a launderette, covered in drying boxers and towels.

“Also starting today was “An Audience With…”, where Milo presented a lecture on some of the finer points of photography, using subjects such as dolphins, Rona II’screw and our current companion vessel Gulden Leeuw.”


Tactics update from Rona II: “Not telling. Somebody might overhear!”

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Banner image: Dolphin – courtesy of Gulden Leeuw crew – with authentic hair blowing! Feature image: Gulden Leeuw at race start – ValeryVasilevskiy.