Two racing strategies are emerging and it’s still uncertain what will happen in the final rankings. The crews are having a great time and we are really enjoying their reports … read on for their latest updates.
First, Paul Bishop, Race Director, Sail Training International reports on the race.
“Two general strategies seem to be emerging. One group is tending to keep closer to the great circle (direct) route and the other is opting to sail a greater distance to the north which has been Rona IIs game plan for a number of days. The weather forecast into the next week continues to be complex and it is unclear which strategy will pay off.”
Catching Up: Nick and Max, Alexander von Humbolt II
2-5 August: Over the past week the sailing has been relatively slow. We were heading north because they cancelled the first starting point. Because of this we also were forced to motor for approximately 300 sea miles. During this time we practiced maneuvers such as man over board and fire drills, along with sailing techniques called facing and jibing.
6 August: We got to the official starting point, and to celebrate this everyone on board participated in a German tradition which is taking a shot of rum to celebrate the starting point.
7 August: We luckily had very good winds and current that helped us reach 10 knots for the majority of the day. For the most part, this first week has been a great chance for the trainees and crew alike to get to know each other and continuing learning and growing on the ship.
8 August:Today we make good speed at 11 knots and travelled 33 nautical miles in four hours. We passed the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and are on track and heading east. We have also seen lots of dolphins and whales.
Heeling a lot: Gulden Leeuw
8 August: Yesterday the ship was heeling a lot, it was hard to eat and sleep. It was foggy outside but then it cleared up. We listened to a dolphin and whale presentation.We also put up the upper topsail, it was hard to do anything because we were so tilted on the sail, but we managed.
Distance travelled in last 24 hours: 202 nautical miles Total distance travelled this journey: 883 nautical miles
Tension between the three great empires: Rona II
8 August : Like Groundhog Day, it is once again the Mongols’ turn on mother watch following another cracking 48 hours sailing. We’ve been seeing speeds over 10 knots as we plough further north trying to get ahead of the fleet and the weather.
As seems to be the theme for this leg we have had a wide range of weather from 23 knots of wind and a crystal clear view of the way ahead, down to only a light breeze and heavy fog. As we continue our passage north the temperature continues to drop and the crew have been becoming quietly concerned that the skipper has actually gone rogue. With clever use of Photoshop to create convenient weather systems so as to fool the crew, there is a theory that he is in fact leading us on a quest to fulfil his life long goal to swim with polar bears in the wild; one of the few things the three great empires agree on his ill fated ambition. Thankfully, today has seen a course change to the east and although the temperature still seems to be dropping the need for a mutiny to keep us on track for Le Havre is fading.
Today has been the double celebration of Callum Buchanan’s ship birthday and Halloween. Making use of some of the remaining fresh fruit and – helping to stave off scurvy – toffee apples for all were provided for lunch.
Meanwhile a rift is starting to form between the Mayans and the other two great empires on board with the Mayans irritatingly chiseled, sun drenched bodies; ability to win at every quiz to date; hold a plank for eternity; and their perfect hair and well shaped eye brows. Although slightly feminine it must be said. It turns out that perhaps putting three of the greatest empires together on a boat and sailing it into the Atlantic may not have been the best idea, only time will tell of the ultimate consequence.
As a result the other empires have begun to seek competitions beyond looks, intelligence and strength where they can prosper over their fellow empire, Initially they have concluded that eating competitions may be the source of the victory they are looking for. As such an inter empire apple bobbing competition was held post lunch, under the illusion it was in relation to it being Halloween, with each empire fielding their best athlete. Whereas both the Vikings’ Olly ‘The Beast’ Jones and Mayans’ Theo ‘Chiseled’ Darlow chose to pick at the apple like a quizzical wood pecker to try and tempt it out of the bucket the Mongol’s illustrious leader George ‘Danger’ Hopkins threw caution to the wind and, at the risk of drowning himself, pinned the apple to the bottom of the bucket. He came back to the surface in under six seconds in what looked like a scene crossed between a breaching whale, something from Baywatch and a well prepared hog roast, and stood triumphant to take the win.
With a whiff of mutiny in the air and concern that the Mongols leader may be getting above his station the Mate, Andy Wright, has dispatched him to the aft deck with a pile of the Mate’s clothes to be washed and pressed.
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Banner and Feature image: All at sea. Valery Vasilevskiy.