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Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Race 5, Report 5: Shifting positions and more crew antics

Posted on: 08.08.17

The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta is one week into its final Transatlantic crossing from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Le Havre, France and light winds mean there are likely to be many changes of winning positions over the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, the crews are making their own fun on board – from disastrous bread making, singing shanties, spotting an orca and dolphins, to enjoying spa treatments – it’s all going on in our crews news today.

But first, Paul Bishop, Race Director, Sail Training International, reports on the last 24 hours. “Blue Clipper remains in first place overall on corrected time and Oosterschelde has moved up into second ahead of Jolie Brise which has dropped to third. Rona II remains in first place in Class C/D despite continuing to sail a more radical northerly route and having to cover a greater distance.

“The winds are fairly unpredictable at present with an area of light wind establishing itself in the middle of the fleet. This has slowed Blue Clipper’s progress recently which is likely to see her bumped off her top place tomorrow, with Jolie Brise, Oosterschelde and Gulden Leeuw still sailing well. Alexander von Humboldt II has also begun to make good progress to the south of the fleet. It will probably be all change in placings over the next 24 hours.”

PositionS overall and by class – on corrected time:

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

Note: Positions and placings are correct at time of publishing. Check out YB Satellite Tracking for the latest information. If using the Yellow Brick App please note: VMG Start shows positions on corrected time.  VMG Recent shows positions on the water.


Dolphins and shanties: Anna Gudarowska, Gulden Leeuw

5 August Even though we’ve been going mainly on the motor, the last couple of days have been pretty exciting! It was a singing day on board Gulden Leeuw a few days ago. It started with the dolphins swimming alongside the ship and some trainees calling them to us (surprisingly successfully!) by imitating their songs. Happy hour followed, with the usual soundtrack, which didn’t stopped even after the ship was sparkling clean again. Trainees could be found singing everywhere, from the net under the bowsprit, all the way to the aft, where a lookout was posted keep a watch on our friends Peter von Danzig.

The day concluded with a proper Shanty Evening, during which Peter Newell, Sail Training International’s Communications Officer, taught the trainees some working songs – South Australia seemed to be the favourite. We were able to use them the next day while putting up the main sail.

We have some musicians on board and some of them have been sharing their ethnic songs, like a beautiful one about whalingand an upbeat rhythm for rowing.

The trainees have been spending the slower moments of the watches learning the theory of sailing, where different lines are located on deck and what they do, and how to tie some very useful knots. During the afternoon of the 4th we said goodbye to Peter von Danzig and met Jolie Brise. Soon after that we were ready to set some sails again and, with a little help from the motor still, we’ve finally resumed sailing!

We’ve been seeing lots of dolphins and even some whales and we are organising a short presentation about them for tonight. Hopefully then everyone will be able to recognise what they are seeing. Now we’re ready to start the race, which we plan to do sometime today. Everyone’s excited to see what the following weeks will bring us.

Knot Tying: Aileen Searson, Gulden Leeuw

5 August Today our watch learned about knot tying and our most exciting moment was bringing diesel to another ship. We sang them shanty’s from the bridge as we helped them. We let our buddy we were towing free since there was enough wind for them. We could have continued racing but the wind wasn’t blowing right, so we decided to wait till the next day to restart the race. It was also Anousch’s birthday! We had a German cake that was pretty decent. Arden practiced going aloft which he said was fun.

Distance travelled over last 24 hours 53 nautical miles. Total distance travelled this voyage 5296 nautical miles. Distance to finish line 2106 nautical miles

Quick Race Re-Start: Gulden Leeuw

6 August The most exciting part of the day was restarting the race, around the same time as Oosterschelde, Alexander von Humboldt II and Blue Clipper. In one of our manoeuvres we raised the mizzen sail twice, making sure that we got off to a quick start, as well as a jibe and a tack.

Distance travelled over last 24 hours 120 nautical miles. Total distance travelled this voyage 5411 nautical miles. Distance to finish line 2024 nautical miles.

Dolphins and a Lazy Sunday: ARJEN Groeten, Gulden Leeuw

7 August Yesterday was very energetic because the weather was better. The crew and trainees did amazingly well. We saw dolphins, had a lazy Sunday and a great dinner – we actually had real potatoes and good fish.After watch we played some cards ove a glass of milk – then I went for a nap.

Distance travelled over last 24 hours 154 nautical miles.

orca and Spa day: Rona II

8 August As the sun crests the horizon, the crew of Rona II are rousing and the Mongols, on deck, begin thawing. Unknown to the majority of the crew, bread that had been prepared the night before under the cover of darkness slipped back into the oven for a 2nd bake. Unfortunately, due to unprecedented size of the mammoth loaves the centre had not baked properly and even Lewis turned his head when offered the gooey core. Ed unexpectedly perked up, suddenly very interested in the doomed loaf, his watch confusedly looking on as their watch leader began mumbling strange vaguely scientific words as he tried to nurse the clearly undercooked bread. Was he dreaming he was a real physicist? I think not, instead in a sleepy haze he had mistaken the bread for a volcano.

A little later, sweeping, fast moving fog engulfed the boat, reducing visibility to under 50 meters whilst phantom fishing boats flickered on the AIS. The radar was fired up but it dawned on the crew that we’re in the middle of the ocean and collision was unlikely to say the least. The fog clearing led to the unusual sighting of a ostracized orca. Somber in the thought we have just completed our first week at sea, a briefing with the Mate instantly raised morale as the news that in the last 24 hours the boat had sailed a cool 212 miles and Rona II was running first in class! Victory cries echoed around the boat but in the background the Mayans sounded their customary war cry. The sound cannot be described but the reader may come close by picturing Chewbacca being tickled.

A momentous occasion indeed but surpassed by the fact that today was the Skipper’s birthday! Lunch of pizza served by the styled Vikings in full mother watch battle gear of matching aprons and homemade chef hats. Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat the Vikings chanted, echoing their aprons’ commandments while preparing chocolate muffins a la ‘Tang’. Tang is the go to drink for thirsty sailors!

Mother watch took a quick afternoon break in order to commence the first of many viking spa days courtesy of Matt Woodcock’s girlfriend. Face masks were applied with some calming music in the background and the viking spa was in full flow. They have been building on the successes of somehow convincing the mate to let them dye his hair pink the other day. Viking watch’s skin has never looked more radiant and the gentle smell of lotus flower and willow still lingers in Rona II’s saloon. The success of mother watch was cemented by scoring a hotdog hat trick by somehow managing to get the mammoth tin into every meal. We all need a week off from Hot Dogs now!

Anyway, I had best finish the blog here. A waterfall is forming in the saloon and there is a buzz of sodden crew members attempting to plug the holes. I should probably offer to help before we sink any further…..

Skipper’s note: “Waterfall” is rather an exaggeration. if we let it continue, didn’t plug it and didn’t do any pumping at all we might sink in around ten years…

Note 2: The crew is now on deck singing “Busted” tunes. Oh dear.

Follow the Fleet

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

Banner and Feature image: Tall Ships Masts. Valery Vasilevskiy.