Main Menu

Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta Race 1, Report 5: Close Racing and Crew News

Posted on: 23.04.17

Yesterday’s off shore tactic taken by Rona II (UK) has seen her reduce the advantage held by Peter von Danzig (Germany) to less than three nautical miles, but Peter von Danzig (Germany) continues to lead.

The fleet leaders have slowed down while the vessels towards the back continue to make good progress in fresher breeze. The battle at the front of the fleet looks set to continue as the skippers and their crews seek to gain maximum boat speed in the lighter conditions.

NOTE: Check out YB Satellite Tracking for the latest information and full placings.



Saturday 22 April

We left London on Saturday 16 April, leading the fleet of ships on the parade of sail down the Thames to go to Torbay where the race officially starts. Travelling down the Thames we got our first look at the completion and were seen off by many tall ship fans.

Our watches began on the Monday 18 April and we were taught how to steer, navigate and lookout. We anchored in Torbay for 24 hours where Harry, the Sail Training International communications officer came aboard our vessel from the Sea Cadet training ship John Jerwood.

The race was due to start 1700, Wednesday 19 April and we prepared ourselves and the ship by putting up the sails and learning sea shanties (Drunken Sailor). This was the day we also began a group exercise class which is growing bigger every day.

In two weeks’ time Santa Maria Manuela will be 80 years old. She was designed as a fishing vessel to sail across the Atlantic with heavy loads of cod. It is much heavier than other boats and requires more wind to drive her through the water. Her best point of sailing is with the wind from the beam. If the wind is from the stern or any other direction progress is much slower.

We have been kept company by a group of dolphins and today some lucky people saw a whale! We also have a pet bird which we’ve called Fabio. The bird comes and goes during the day.

Our captain showed us his funny side yesterday and played a trick by putting ink around the eye piece of the binoculars. Later we watched the sunset and calculated the sunrise for the following morning. We also learnt how to use a sextant to see the stars and how to use them to find our position.

It has been a great four days since the start, despite someone (who remains nameless) being sick many times in the first 18 hours. This morning our speed was 8.3 knots so if we keep this speed up we will be in Portugal in three to four days.




Noon, Saturday 22 April


43 26′.26 N 010 13′.56 W (Rounding Cabo Finistere, Northern Spain)


248 nautical miles

As Rona entered the Bay of Biscay with the Spinnaker up and storming along at 10 knots the wind began to build. Perhaps time to change sails!!

With a considerably reduced rig, Rona II stormed across the bay, surfing down waves at speeds of up to 16.5 knots keeping an average of 10. This left the crew either smiling or bent over the side feeding the fish. This must have been appreciated because on a couple of occasions we were escorted across the Biscay by dolphins, which raised even the skippers morale!

Friday’s happy hour was the half way point in our Biscay crossing and on skippers orders the ‘mystery box’ was frantically torn open to the delight of the crew. No spoilers on its content but we can confirm there was LEMON CURD! Happy hour’s entertainment was the start of “murder” which is where crew members try to hand specific objects to each other in predetermined areas to try and ‘kill’ them, for example you might have ‘the mate in the cockpit with a clothes hanger’.

Powering into Saturday morning on the back of 30 knot gusts, we left the bay behind us lead to a drop in breeze and wave height making the roller coaster ride turn into more of a Sunday afternoon cruise; an annoying blip in the plan with speeds reduced to fractions of the previous couple of days. But with a variety of sails going up and down the skipper and mate are determined to find the most effective setup. With the sun continuing to shine every day, the drop in wind has caused a mass removal of layers.

Whilst writing this blog the crews favourite cinnamon and honey loaf, with mixed dried fruit, is in the oven. It’s become a white watch specialty with everyone excited for it to be ready.


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


You can still be part of this adventure of a lifetime. Berths are available for Race 2 (from Sines to Bermuda) onwards. A limited number of bursaries are available for the Sines to Bermuda leg – with no age restriction! Find out how to apply here.

Need help? Email

Photos: Santa Maria Manuela (Portugal) (banner image) courtesy of Richard Sibley and Rona II (UK) (featured image) courtesy or Valery Vasilevsky.