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Showing posts from April, 2017

The Last Leg One Post!

28/4/17 The sun shone on the Sines waterfront for the 2017 leg 1 crew parade. The Rona crew, clad in yellow capes made from the ripped spinnaker, slotted in behind our on the water rivals Wylde Swan and the parade began. The crews made their way along the waterfront, playing to the cheering crowds before heading up the hill into Sines to finish in the Castle. It seemed that the whole town had turned out to cheer for the parade and the Rona crew ensured that they were given a show. We ran through our repertoire of Rona chants and parade routines and distributed Rona wristbands to the crowd. Our chanting became increasingly competitive with Wylde Swan and we were more than happy to remind them of the race results with a chant of 'If you won line honours clap your hands.' The parade stopped in the castle grounds for the presentation. The first award to go to Rona II was the communications award, this goes to the boat that has done the most to aid race c

Friday in Sines - the Rona II Boat Party!

28/4/17 Friday was the day of the Rona boat party and preparations continued in earnest as the boat was decorated and the final touches were made to food and drink. This process was interrupted as we attended the opening ceremony for the tall ships regatta in Sines which consisted of eight speeches in Portuguese and one in English from race chairman Ross McDonald. While I am sure that these speeches were both fun and informative they were somewhat lost on the Rona crew to a sturdy language barrier. Therefore we felt we had no choice but to make our own fun which we chose to do through a human pyramid. The crowd seemed to love this demonstration of human strength and organisation, and we had barely clambered down from our acrobatic formation before we appeared on the Sail Training International facebook page. Our next trick was to appear in formation next to the Italian Navy (which was luckily received in good humour) and we finished the performance with our

Thursday in Sines

27/4/17 Thursday afternoon's main task was to relax and enjoy the sunshine in Sines. The forecast had it down as the hottest day of our trip and the Rona crew wasted no time hitting the beach to soak up the sun and swim in the bay or heading into the town to experience the Portuguese culture. following an afternoon of R&R, the crew of Rona II were treated to dinner in Sines at the restaurant La Palmeira. Our host Jose ensured that we were well looked after from start to finish and a considerable feast ensued. An amuse bouche of fried octopus was well received by all and seemed to complement the Sangria perfectly. A main course of various local dishes including seafood, stuffed pork and Portuguese omelet to name a few gave us a good flavour of the local cuisine. Following the main meal we toasted the race, the skipper, the ripped spinnaker and everything in between led by toastmaster Paul. After dessert we were treated to homemade brandy courtesy of o

Sines, Portugal

Noon 25th to noon 26th Position: alongside pontoon, Sines Day's run: 0 Current rig: sailcovers on At midday, everyone was busy doing jobs around the boat to make it harbour worthy, from flaking sails to making sure all the stanchions and fittings are all secured for the next leg. Watch Leader Aidan was up the mast rethreading a halyard and making sure that the cars on the main sail are all correct. Race director Paul Bishop, who had to fly out early as we were making such good progress in the race, came to visit and congratulate us on crossing the line first. He informed us that it was the first time that Rona II has crossed the line before our rivals Peter Von Danzig. I mean just, it was only 17 mins and 55 seconds. Happy hour came and we had cake and some entertainment from red watch which was yet another disappointing round of Call 'em all. During happy hour skipper Roy said that we could all have our first shower in a week. Everyone jumped at the chance and the sh

Race Finish!

25th April Noon position 37 57' N 08 52' W - Sines Harbour Day;' run 115nm Rig: tied up alongside. WE FINISHED!!! The hard work by all on board resulted in Rona II winning line honours at 01:25.15, managing to beat PVD (Peter Von Danzig) by just 20 minutes on the water after around 1000 miles of racing. We started the day [yesterday noon] reaching along the Portuguese coast, 30 miles from land, with the big A5 kite flying. After a gybe inshore, we flew a variety of sailplans, including the big one, white sail reaching with genoa and mizzen staysail. Noticing we were close to PvD, but that they were sailing quicker, there were last minute spinnaker hoists and some nail-biting boat on boat racing, which ended with us taking the edge in what was apparently one of the closest tall ships race finishes. Helming us over the line was the youngest crew member baby Yoshi (Oisin). Meanwhile bottles of Prosecco from Dieppe were cracked open to celebrate the

The Day the Phones got reception... briefly.

24th April Position 39 06' N 10 07' W Today consisted of spinnaker hoisting, cake making and dolphin watching. Happy hour was blue watch's interpretation of the bible, an alternative view that left the crew in stitches with Harry bagging all the laughs. This was followed by a cake impressively decorated with a picture of Rona II. A brief interlude of mobile reception left the crew's phones going mad whilst the skipper's phone remained noticeably quiet... There was a bit of crew rough housing once red watch found out blue watch had eaten their Easter eggs, but this was quickly halted by the sighting of our class rivals Peter Von Danzig on AIS. A spinnaker change left us tying the newly dropped spinnaker in wool to look like a Mercedes badge; this means that when we hoist it the kite does not fill and power up, allowing us to quickly hoist the kite in the safest manner. Lunch was risotto which at least one person described as 'well good&

blog 23rd april

Noon day position- 22nd april lat: 43 36 N Long: 10 13 W 23rd april lat: 41 41 N long: 9 50 W After we came storming out of the Bay of Biscay the wind dropped significantly and we were sailing along at around 2-3 knots. This felt like we were almost sitting ducks as we had reached speeds of 16.3 knots through the bay of Biscay. When we enter a new country's waters, we have to raise a 'courtesy flag' - a little version of their country's flag, which acknowledges that we know we are under their laws and customs. So we hoisted the [closest approximation we could find to] the Spanish flag on the signal halyard. We were also constantly taking up and down a variety of sails to find the best solution to the annoying problem of there being very little wind. We tried all three spinnakers but settled on using the big one as it was most effective in our current light wind sailing conditions which required skill and hard work but was easily overcome from

Across Biscay

22nd April 2017 Noon position: 43 26'.26 N 010 13'.56 W (Rounding Cabo Finistere, Northern Spain) 24 hour mileage: 248 Current Rig: Spinnaker, Staysail, full main and mizzen As Rona entered the Bay of Biscay with the Spinnaker up and storming along at 10kts the wind began to build. Perhaps time to change sails!! With a considerably reduced rig, Rona 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 fishes. This must have been appreciated because on a couple of occasions we were escorted across the Biscay by dolphins, which raised even the skipper's morale! Friday happy hour was the the half way point in our Biscay crossing and on skipper's 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! (Editor's Note: On Campaign Chairman's

A Big 24 Hours!

Date: 21st april 2017 Noon position: 46:28N 07:48W [middle of the Bay of Biscay] Rig: No. 2 Yankee, Staysail, 1 reef in Main, Mizzen. Day's Run: 223nm What a big 24 hours! The first 6 hours of the last 24 were spent under spinnaker - we got faster and faster, and pulled away from Wylde Swan, who could not keep up. However, all good things come to and end, and we had a dramatic drop of the kite in building force 5 winds, and then put a couple of reefs in the main. Happy hour was a hilarious rendition of Romeo and Juliet, and some very good chocolate brownies. The forecast came in for a heavy night, so we prepped by hunkering down: staysail dropped; mizzen dropped; genoa dropped and no. 2 hoisted; No3 and storm jib ready when needed; the foredeck cleared of any headsails; and a tasty meal of chilli con carne eaten. On the race, there is an organized radio schedule in the morning and evening, where each ship reports in their position, and we can work out w

The Start, and the English Channel under full sail

20th April 2017 Noon Position: 49'14N 005.30E (Between Ushant and Land's End) Days's Run: 125 miles Current Rig: A5 Spinnaker, Staysail, Mailsail, Mizzen Staysail, Mizzen On Wednesday, Rona II achieved 'sleb status with ITV and BBC crews recording radio and TV spots onboard. Before the start of the race, Rona II left the dock with a big crowd in attendance (well, big for a Wednesday afternoon...) and gave Tor-bay-dos a loud chant-based sendoff. Lunch of tuna pasta bake as we made way to the start line. An amazing selection of breads [cinnamon fruit bread; a seeded bread and a perfect brown loaf] kept morale high. A quick sail to the start line, and we were off. As the light winds vectored round behind us, we hoisted the mizzen staysail while eating a roast lamb dinner. (Editor: It'd have been quicker if you had put the dinner to one side while you hoisted...!) Dawn saw our first full race day! After lacklustre windspeed the previous eve

Rona II leaves Torquay!

Race Day!

April 19th, Midday Current position: 50.27.4 N, 3.31.6 W (currently alongside in Torquay) Day's run: 0 Current rig: sails stowed RACE DAY! We are currently in Torquay harbour enjoying our last bit of shore leave before we race to Sines. The sun is shining and the crew are in high spirits ready to race. We have sailed exactly zero miles since our last blog. Rona II has been dressed to impress while in Torquay. The mizzen halyard was almost lost during the dressing process when a bowline slipped, although it was quickly retrieved by White watch sending one of the Toms (in this case Tom C) up the mast, where he retrieved the halyard and took  a photo opportunity with Toby the boat mascot. Last night Red watch treated the crew to roast chicken followed by apple crumble and custard. There was even enough left to enjoy cold crumble with tea this morning. The Skipper and Mate went to the prize giving of the Torbay Small Ship's race. We had a few visitors,

18th April - down Channel to Torquay and the Race Start

18th april 2017 noon position : 50'27 N 3'32W (alongside in torquay) day's run: 184 nautical miles At midday on Monday Rona II was sailing past the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, in hot pursuit of Jolie Brise. Red watch came off and white watch stepped down; not much was happening apart from red watch being their rowdy selves, talking and laughing all the time. Lunch was pizzas, made with a range of toppings. Another watch change and it was soon to be happy hour, where blue watched entertained the crew with the own rendition on 'the day i went to sea' . As it was an Easter Monday, white watch felt the need to eat some Easter eggs on deck. We then sailed past the wind farm and saw some yachts who had strayed into it being chased out by guard boats! Dinner was Carbonara, expertly made with ham in it. (Editor's note: a previous effort turned out inadvertently to be a vegetarian meal - see earlier blogs!) As the sun set the wind dropped, s

Friends and Family Onboard, and our Departure from London

 Saturday 15th April - Friends and Family day in London  In true project style, all the crew were up early in the morning to clean  the boat after the previous night's shenanigans and continue with the last  few bits of maintenance in preparation for the race.  Disaster at breakfast! The water pump stopped working so Charlie the mate  had to be woken up to swap over to the spare one. Fortunately we had some  Super-Quin sausages to eat to make up for it. After breakfast I, Ferghal,  had to spend the guts of an hour with my head under the floor boards  taking off the old pump and attaching a new one. Watch Leader Will once again was  up the mast trying to attach and wire the deck lights moving onto fitting  the ones on the mizzen mast. Were they finished today? In a word, no.  The cleaning had a special importance today as the boat was open for  friends and family to look around. The boat was filled from around 1330  until 1700 with some important people an

A Few Photos from London!

Rona II at Tower Bridge, London

Blog 3 - Leg 1

Tuesday   11th April – Boulogne to Thames Estuary In the early afternoon we cast off and left Boulogne behind with sunny but fresh conditions – ideal sailing weather. It was decided that the conditions were right for the spinnaker   to be raised. After swiftly getting the spinnaker on deck the sheets and guys followed shortly. A call went round for all available hands on deck and everyone got in their   places to hoist. For a successful hoist speed is key and errors banned. With great leadership from Charlie (the mate), and even better strength and fortitude from Red watch the spinnaker went up without a hitch, filling   with wind in a spectacular fashion. Unfortunately there was not time to sit and admire our great work - with   the sail up we were heading towards the shipping lanes at quite a pace. A few quick photos and we took our position for the drop. Pulling like madmen to avoid dropping it in the water we undid our earlier work. Unlike oth

Day 1 - Hamble -> Dieppe

 So we arrived at the River Hamble from all corners of the British Isles, mainly from Britain but some from far off islands like Ireland and Wight. The first half of the day was spent loading the ship with food, and ticking off the jobs list, including refitting new heads pumps. Toby, the ship's mascot, was initially given a berth on the binnacle.  Jason, Gareth and Pete Wadsworth were also onboard - many thanks for the extra help getting us ready! We run a three watch system as four on, four off, and the third watch as 'mother', running the galley and keeping belowdecks shipshape. Each watch stands as mother every three days. A fine lunch of Tuna Noodles was smashed out of the galley by Blue Watch. The mate unleashed his extra hot chilli sauce. Sails were bent on, and we headed off sailing. A quick stop in Gosport to pick up Paul, dinner of lasagne, and set sail at midnight for Dieppe in fairly light SE'erlies. The wind