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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 trademark
Rona chants.

There was only time for a quick bowl of pasta after the ceremony before
guests began to arrive from boats such as Blue Clipper, Jolie Brise,
Hosanna, Wylde Swan and of course our sporting rivals the Peter Von Danzig.
All guests were given a wristband to remember us by and there was no
shortage of sangria to go round. This gave all the crews the chance to
socialize and find out about life on board the different boats, furthermore
it gave us a chance to talk to the people who were involved in sail training
organisations that are remarkably similar in many respects to Rona.

The party on Rona wound up at 10 pm and we headed to the castle in the
middle of Sines where traditional Portuguese music was being played live.
Once we had been suitably cultured we went for a walk to appreciate the
ambience of Sines by night.

Breakfast was served by blue watch on Saturday morning and the crew are now
in the process of deep cleaning the boat ready for tomorrow's handover to
leg 2 and preparing for the crew parade. A cardboard Rona is being fashioned
from old food boxes and pieces of ripped spinnaker and the crew are brushing
up on their performance pieces.


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Rona II - Current Tactics

Greetings from Rona II. It's early morning on Monday, still dark, and has been a busy night as we've changed steadily down from genoa, staysail, full main and mizzen, to no 2 yankee, staysail, second reef and mizzen. The wind has come aft a little and we are trucking along. Tactically over the next couple of days we're trying to play to Rona II's strengths. She's an absolute weapon with the wind a little aft of the beam and around 18 knots of breeze, so with more wind (and a higher sea state) to the north west, and less of both to the south east, we're adjusting our (generally north east) course to try and keep ourselves in exactly that much wind. Ultimately it looks like we'll go quite a long way north before turning east, covering a longer distance in order to stay in Rona II's sweet spot for as long as possible. It's too early to properly know what the rest of the fleet is doing but we suspect we're the most north