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Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta Race 4, Report 2: Race updates, crew news and cruising

Posted on: 26.06.17

The fleet are continuing to cross the finish line for Race 4 of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta and we catch up with crew news from the race.

Latest results from Race 4 of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, from Boston to Gulf of Saint Lawrence Ports, on Corrected Time:

  1. BAP Union (Peru)
  2. Eagle (USA)
  3. Blue Clipper (UK)
  4. Oosterschelde (The Netherlands)
  5. Europa (The Netherlands)
  6. Alexander von Humboldt II (Germany)
  7. Gulden Leeuw (The Netherlands)
  8. Jolie Brise (UK)
  9. Spirit of South Carolina (USA)
  10. Atyla (Vanuatu)
  11. Esmeralda (Chile)
  12. Geronimo (USA)
  13. Picton Castle (Cook Islands)
  14. Guayas (Ecuador)
  15. Rona II (UK)
  16. Spaniel (Latvia)
  17. Vahine (Finland)
  18. Peter von Danzig (Germany)
  19. Regina Germania (Germany)

Note: Positions and placings are correct at time of writing. Check out YB Satellite Tracking for the latest information.


Spaniel (Latvia) Friday 23 June

Today it is a midsummer day, known as ‘Ligo’ to every Latvian. It is a widely celebrated national holiday all over the country with singing and bonfire festivals that can be celebrated for two days, or even more.

The crew is sitting on the deck and having a discussion about how to celebrate night – as sailors while in a race. Here are some of our suggestions and ideas:

  1. Stay up the whole night until the sunrise. Sailors can also do that easily. After sunset we will be having ‘full crew watch’ till it gets light again. Check!
  1. Bonfires all over the country are a very well-known tradition and can be seen in each city and village. To be fertile and prosperous and have joyful days young pairs should jump over the fire. Sailors have a slightly adapted version of making a tiny bonfire in an empty can of beans. Jumping over this ‘open fire’ has however been strictly denied by our security officer.
  1. Have a BBQ on the open fire and drink a lot of Ligo beer and eat Janu (stands for the name – Jonny) cheese. We found everything required, including beer, on board. So sailors will have some fresh shashlik with cheese and will hypnotise a closed can of beer.
  1. Latvians always have government warnings like “If you have some beer then you should not steer”. When we will be asked how was our Ligo – well if you have no beer then better fix your steer. And we really did.

A couple of hours later we were planning how to celebrate this special night on boat when suddenly a calm sound appeared from the helmsman saying: “Guys, I think we just lost our steering.” So, for the last four hours, Spaniel was heading to waypoint 1 using emergency steering while having speed up to 10 knots and performing required repairs. It could be done without stopping the boat since sea was calm.

  1. Latvian Ligo festivals is also very well known for singing our national folksongs – all night long. That can be reached easily and we have even started that in the ports of Boston. To comply for tradition stay tuned for Spaniel choir on Channel 77 at 2100 UTC when it is midnight in Latvia.
  1. As Latvia is a “Name day celebrating country” and the name of the holiday is basically known for the ladies named Liga and the name day of the gentlemen named Janis which are the two most popular names in our country. We have exactly one Liga and one Janis in our crew. And yes we promise to cheer them up!
  1. To keep your beauty and good health it is required to roll naked in the morning dew… No problem – Sailors may use salty dew on deck.
  1. During this night, to wash all your troubles away for at least one year, it is common thing to go swimming nude in the rivers or lakes of our loved Latvia. Nightly swim was however cancelled by our captain suggesting we watch naked dolphins instead while in race.
  1. And finally during this night boys and girls are looking for mystic flower of the fern tree. We checked twice – no fern trees are on board due to customs restrictions. The only hope are these naked dolphins to bring some.

Gulden Leeuw (Netherlands): Saturday 22 June

Departure day from Boston and start of the Race to Prince Edward Island.

There we are on the go again. After five wonderful days in Boston it is time to leave. Thank you Sail Boston and to all our volunteers that helped us find our way and showing us around. So many people came to visit the vessel and we had a few very nice corporate deck parties. We felt very welcome!

For this race we are only 15 persons onboard. It feels like we are a big group of friends that are participating in a race onboard a mega sailing vessel. No queuing for meals or showers, and so much space available to choose where you want to sit. We all have a different watch system which enables us to rest enough and every two hours have a small rotation for some planned sail handeling.

But no worries, and just in case you were wondering, even with 15 we have set all the sails by hand and no winches were used! We can do it, we are doing it and we will do it! Stephan, our captain for this leg is a racer, but so are we, and we will show him how we do it onboard the Gulden Leeuw.

The race started at 22:00 UTC and was absolutly terrific! We were fast and straight on the line, all class A vessels almost aligned. Perfect start. We hope we keep it up. And you can already see some tactics showing up with those sailing east or sailing slightly more north.

Gulden Leeuw  (Netherlands): Sunday 23 June

Today is our second race day. As the day started pretty early with a beautiful sunrise (it was already daylight at 4:30 am)we thought it would stay like this the whole day but unfortunatly thick and heavy fog got stuck around us the whole day. It seemed like we were living in a wet, white bubble. These patches of fog have an effect on our speed, decreasing it slightly whenever we enter one.

Therefore our lookout has increased a lot and we are very vigilant on different sounds we hear. Not only the sounds of the water and wind blowing around us on the sails and the hull, but eventual sounds of other vessels blowing their fog horn. For a sailing vessel, this one should be one long blast followed by two short ones every two minutes. These sounds differ from one type of vessel to another so that we can recognize who is around us while sailing in fog.

So the funny story about this is that our cook was on lookout, and was imitating the sound of a cow – very innocently. And the captain started looking every where on the radar, changing range and settings to find that ghost vessel that was blowing the horn so close to us… until he found out that it was the cook!

We do not want to tell names but we all had a small warning and a great laugh at our following crew meeting.

Since yesterday we are sailing an easterly course, at an average speed of nine to 10 knots. We are trimming sails every 30 minutes to keep up this speed and making sure we are still on a good close reach course. We are racing for sure! Everything will be given for this last leg… uwe do not know yet in which position we are in the race but this is a lot of fun.

Even thought we feel we have left a very hot Boston and that we are sailing to Canada  the weather is indeed getting colder – our great cook onboard brings sunshine and warmth to all of us: cinnamon rolls for breakfast (there were still some left for coffee break) and mexican burritos for lunch. Everyone was smiling!

Gulden Leeuw (netherlands): Saturday 24 June

Third day of racing. The weather is still extremly foggy but as we are still sailing an easterly course, we are getting further away from the coast and the chances of meeting another vessel decreases. We also cannot see the other vessels taking part in the Tall Ship regatta on our AIS system as distance increases and race tactics take place.

We are following the stronger winds, hoping we will be lucky till the finish line.

Currents also play also an important role in the tactics. Indeed, Nova Scotia has one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world: 16 meters in some harbours. Can you imagine? This would be one third of our height.  Also the amount of water that is then moving around is massive. Sailing away from the coast will hopefully get us out of the big tide range and will minimize the effects.

We know we are sailing fast when we feel some low vibrations on the hull making every body smile and come up to the bridge to check out our speed… over 10 knots! Yeah! This is amazing sailing! No waves, steady and constant.

For the night we took two reefs in the mizzen sail and kept only the lower topsail. This way we do not heel as much and people can sleep on their two ears.

The fog we are sailing in make it also very calm and we can only lookout for other sealife around us: already spotted a few birds that sat a few hours on our yards, small dark grey dolphins and a whale!

Esmerelda (USA):  Sunday 25 June

For Sargent 2nd Class, Gabriel Rebolledo M., who is participating in the Regatta Boston-Halifax, sailing in foggy weather brought back bitter memories. He remembers: “During sailing maneuvers a few years ago off the coast of Australia, in cold and foggy weather, I was told that my father had passed away. So, today, June 23 2017, while sailing in similar weather conditions, I remembered the moment when I had to face this loss, and when I had to find strength to face this sad news, keeping my spirits up, allowing me to continue to do my job on-board. Today, the memory of my Dad, which I will always keep in my heart, helps me motivate the young seamen and to teach them that, even though life at sea may sometimes make you face hard times and keep you far away from your family, we must never let this affect us and always concentrate on our risky activities and always be mindful of safety measures, as it can affect our whole team.”

Follow the Fleet

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

Get Involved

You can still be part of this adventure of a lifetime. Berths are available for the Guest Ports Programme and Race 5 from Halifax to Le Havre. Why wait? Secure your place today. Check out the available places on our Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta event pages.

You can book your place directly with a participating vessel, or if you’d like help simply email our friendly team on, who can make recommendations, answer questions and process your booking for you.

Photo: First on Corrected Time in Race 4 of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships RegattaBAP Union (Peru).  Photo courtesy of Max Mudie