Complex wind patterns mean the fleet of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta is either making speedy progress to Le Havre, or patiently waiting for wind to arrive. The crews are now playing a full role in sailing their vessels and enjoying each others company with games, good food and appreciation of the ever changing weather conditions and constant wildlife spotting and identification.
Paul Bishop, Race Director explains what’s been happening in the race since yesterday.
“Jolie Brise has benefitted by heading more northerly over the past 24 hours and has taken 1st place overall on corrected time ahead of Oosterschelde, although she remains in 1st place in Class A. Rona II remains the most northerly of the fleet and has held onto her 1st place on corrected time in Class C/D. The wind pattern over the fleet remains complex and varied with vessels experiencing anything from 20 knots to near calms so further changes in rankings are likely over the next 24 hours.”
PositionS overall and by class – on corrected time:
- Jolie Brise (UK) (1st Class B)
- Oosterschelde (Netherlands) (1st Class A)
- Blue Clipper (UK) (2nd Class B)
- Gulden Leeuw (Netherlands) (2nd Class A)
- Atyla (Vanuatu) (3rd Class B)
- Rona II (UK) (1st Class C/D)
- Spaniel (Latvia) (2nd Class C/D)
- Regina Germania (Germany) (3rd Class C/D)
- Peter Von Danzig (Germany) (4th Class C/D)
- Alexander Von Humboldt II (Germany) (3rd Class A)
- Vahine (Finland) (5th Class C/D)
Foggy days on the Atlantic: Anna Gudarowska, Gulden Leeuw
8 August: The past couple of days have been mildly busy. Yesterday a lot of heeling brought back some sea sickness. Most people haven’t slept so well and everybody but the 0800 watch has started to skip breakfast. It was quite cold, with slight drizzle and lots of fog. To make the sorrow complete, the coffee maker decided it didn’t like the heeling either and gave out just before breakfast.
Thankfully the day got brighter as the time went on, we even got some sunshine by the end! Alejandro gave us a presentation about dolphins and whales which we might see along the way. What better way to finish a cold and busy day.
Today the spirits have lifted a lot. We’ve sailed a decent distance in the night. That news, along with beautiful sunshine, greeted us at breakfast – as well as some long-awaited coffee. As the day went on a thick fog came upon us, covering most of the world in milky whiteness. We put up the course sail (all of the other ones are already up). Afterwards I took the trainees who were on watch to the foredeck in order to go over the ropes once again. Although some of the participants still get lost a little bit, with every time we do some Sail Training, more is starting to sink in. Some people are starting to understand the lines and their functions. Others are asking insightful questions about the direction of the wind and trimming. For some answers we have to search together in the trainee booklet or among the more experienced crew, which provides for a nice challenge and keeps me on my toes!
The murder game starts tonight. We distributed little pieces of paper among trainees and crew. Everyone got a name, a place on the Ship and a “murder weapon” which they will use to eliminate their target. One person has to make another hold a sleeping bag next to the bosun’s locker – that’s going to prove interesting for sure. Everybody is excited. Hopefully the game will last for days.
The third of our journey has passed and so we are changing the watch times. On such a long trip everybody gets to try each watch. Only the trainees change times though, which means that “my” watch will now be someone else’s. It will be sad as we’ve grown attached to each other but it will give them the opportunity to gain more varied experience. Of course, it will also be fun to work with different people, and a nice new challenge for all of us.
Highlights of Life on Board: Henri Piffaut, Blue Clipper
French: Bonjour! Voici quelques lignes sur les aventures a bord du Blue Clipper. Mon nom est Henri Piffaut et je suis quasi novice en voile. Grande activite sociale a bord, entre les delicieux plats concoctes par Olivia, notre cuistot, l anniversaire de Sol, notre volubile benjamin et evidemment les regards goguenards des oiseaux qui nous observent pris dans la nasse sans grande brise. Quand le vent nous porte et baleines et dauphins croisent notre chemin, la vie est belle.
Sol a été à bord depuis les Bermudes et a célébré son 18e anniversaire en mer mardi.
English: Hello! Here are a few lines on my adventures aboard Blue Clipper. My name is Henri Piffaut and I am a novice in sailing. Great social activity on board – delicious dishes concocted by Olivia, our cook – the 18th birthday of Sol – the mocking looks of birds watching us caught in the trap without great breeze. When the wind carries us and whales and dolphins cross our path, life is beautiful.
Sol has been on board since Bermuda and celebrated his 18th birthday at sea on Tuesday.
Murder game and laundry day: Gulden Leeuw
9 August: Good morning! The ocean is still blue. Yesterday was a very interesting day, as we shifted our watch hours for the first time.The switch marked the completion of one third of the trip. The wind slowed down, so it was the first time in a couple days that we could make coffee, stand up straight, and shower.
We learned more about the positions of the ropes on the blocks, and about tacking and jibing from the captain. Last night during one of our night watches the tack broke and Peder had to go aloft to tie a new rope.
Today we are celebrating Jaden’s 18th birthday!
The whole boat, except the captain, started a shipwide “murder” game. We have to hand an object to someone at a specific place to eliminate them, and the whole boat has grown suspicious of their friends. Don’t worry, the game is paused when we are on watch so we should still make it to France.
We are all very excited for our laundry day, I’ve only got one more clean pair of undies…
Distance travelled last 24 hours: 109 nautical miles Total distance travelled this voyage: 1007 nautical miles
Firework night and forepeak description: Rona II
9 August: It’s been a generally wet and windless day that has seemed to drag on longer than waiting for your cup of tea when the Mongols are on mother watch. However, the ever omni-benevolent Mayans watch realising this have been busy all day devising meal time entertainment, to rejuvenate a damp and depressed crew. It is bonfire night in our own personal year in three weeks boat calendar. First off a cardboard firework display mixed with dance routine awed spectators into stitches of laughter after a damp and slow morning. Reviews have been nothing but positive as there’s little else been going on. Rumours have been heard that the Mayan director of performing arts, Harry Normanton, has composed a Mayan watch song to repost the Vikings’ propaganda performance. The Mongols have yet to put forward an entry in this particular musical inter watch skirmish. The Mayans were once again tested during washing up when the pump to drain the sink broke. The resourceful Mayans were half way to fixing said problem using a knife, super glue, some twine and duck tape when it was pointed out that there was a replacement pump handle in the spares box. Admitting that using a new one was probably easier the pump was fixed and the ever growing washing up was finished.
In other watch news, watch officer of the Mongols, George Hopkins, spotted a whale, later reflecting that they are “bloody big”. Some on board believe this statement to be a major breakthrough in marine biology knowledge – our resident David Attenborough (Cameron Fall-Everett) is less certain …
During the Vikings’ four hour watch they decided that the asymmetric spinnaker that we had rigged was a bit too much effort (the wind dropped and went round in circles for a while) for them so proceeded to take it down and force an already busy Mayan watch to stop all their important galley work in order to wool and bag the spinnaker. However, as ever, the Mayans handled their first spinnaker packing with easy grace that only comes with competence and great leadership! Cameron commented that the spinnaker had been an easier ordeal than he’d expected when he first saw the saloon packed with folds of sail that seemed to continually engulf the crew that tried to sort it.
After lunch the Vikings cracked out the cards and proceeded to confuse each other with different names for the same game before proceeding to play “sevens” or “gap filler”. The mate then wowed the entire crew with a magic trick that left the crew reeling.
The Mayans are now preparing dinner of mushroom and chicken pie with assorted vegetables and sweet potato chips. With only 30 minutes to go until dinner we are sailing in Force 4 WSW winds with the number 1 Genoa up, the staysail, mainsail, mizzen and mizzen staysail to try to squeeze the maximum speed from the winds on a course of 110 degrees magnetic. The skipper and the mate have just dressed in full wet weather gear and the call for a spinnaker has just been heard!
The Forepeak – an in depth description and experience: The forepeak is the forward most inhabitable cabin on Rona II, it has a volume of 22.12 metres cubed, the bunks are 1.9 meters long. It sleeps eight and contains the only two heads (toilets) on the boat. Just imagine the rich soup of odours that can be accomplished in such ripe conditions over one night with the hatch eternally sealed to prevent sinking. All stowed kit is beneath the bunks so to retrieve your ear plugs (anti Angus technology – he snores!) at 2am is the 13th task of Hercules and is normally met with a sleepy yet heartfelt string of profanities. This all before getting back in your bunk which will inevitably result in you waking at least one more of the sleep deprived crew with a poorly aimed foot in the dark. Despite the smell and inconvenience of the forepeak it is a favourite place of rest and recuperation between watches as it protects against the sound of mother watch and the smell of the super potent onions that Rona II has somehow created. Another endearing feature of the forepeak is the low water tight bulkhead door which promises to begin or end your trip to the forepeak with some delightful four letter word as it catches you in the head or on the ankle as it swings shut behind you.
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Banner and Feature image: Rigging at sunset. Valery Vasilevskiy.