Interesting tactics are developing at the head of the fleet as Peter von Danzig (Germany) continues to lead having taken a more inshore and direct course.
Wylde Swan (The Netherlands) has taken an offshore course with Rona II (UK) following closely behind. This duo are hoping to benefit from the stronger winds that are forecasted to be offshore. It will be interesting to see whether this tactic pays off as they head down the Portuguese coast.
“The leaders have run into the lighter winds that have been forecasted off the Portuguese coast which has dramatically slowed their progress. Those ships behind are enjoying the fresh easterly winds in the Bay of Biscay and are likely to begin to close the gap.”
Paul Bishop, Race Director, Sail Training International
NOTE: Positions and placings are correct at time of writing. Check out YB Satellite Tracking for the latest information.
NEWS FROM THE CREW OF RONA II
Noon, Friday 21 April
46:28N 07:48W [middle of the Bay of Biscay]
223 nautical miles
What a big 24 hours! The first six hours of the last 24 were spent under spinnaker – we got faster and faster, and pulled away from Wylde Swan, who could not keep up. However, all good things come to an end, and we had a dramatic drop of the kite in building force five winds, and then dropped a couple of reefs in the main.
Happy hour was a hilarious rendition of Romeo and Juliet, and some very good chocolate brownies.
The forecast came in for a heavy night, so we prepped by hunkering down: staysail dropped; mizzen dropped; genoa dropped and no. 2 hoisted; No3 and storm jib ready when needed; the foredeck cleared of any headsails; and a tasty meal of chilli con carne eaten.
On the race, there is an organised radio schedule in the morning and evening, where each ship reports in their position, and we can work out who is in the lead etc. The schedule is run by the Sail Training International Communications officer, Harry, who is based on Santa Maria Manuela, a four masted schooner from Portugal. The thing is, radio range is limited, so boats nearer the front have to pass messages via boats nearer the middle. Rona II has been collating positions and then sending them off via email to Harry. The radio schedule came in with us second in class – the French on Hosanna ahead on corrected time; and the Germans on Peter von Danzig behind on corrected time. On the course, Peter von Danzig is head of us, and Hosanna is behind … !
So the night came, much singing on deck and banging and crashing below. Someone who will remain unnamed [Jordan] managed a moment of comedy genius and poured hot chocolate all over the floor and Ferghal. All night we could see Swan catching us up. At dawn, they were level with us, and we saw our first dolphins. We needed more sail, so hoisted the staysail, the mizzen, and shook a reef in the main.
Breakfast was sausages, eggs and beans, which is the last of our fresh food. The pressure has dropped from 1030 to 1022 and the winds are still strong. No major changes in position in this morning’s radio schedule.
FOLLOW THE FLEET
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Photo: Rona II (UK), courtesy of Richard Sibley (featured image and banner image).