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Rona II vs The Beast

If I'd written "Rona vs. The Beast" at the beginning of the trip you would
probably have thought I would be referring to the Atlantic as "The Beast".
But, this really isn't the case. For some unknown reason Viking Watch Leader
Matt Woodcock has decided to give me, Olly Jones, this nickname. Claiming he
overheard me making some outlandish claims on the foredeck such as "I'm the
strongest man on the boat" and "I'll beat you all in a strength contest"
this nickname has stuck. I'm regularly welcomed onto night watch with
screams of "UNLEASH THE BEAST" and when we need a a sail hoisted they will
shout "WE SUMMON THE BEAST". Fully embracing this title I've shown the
little whippersnappers of Viking watch how to properly do a racing headsail
change and sheet in the spinnaker.

Today happens to be my boat birthday and also Chinese New Year according to
the boat calendar. At this point I'd like to say that I think everyone on
the boat is going a little stir crazy and as such today has taken what i
would describe as a slightly odd turn. Chinese New Year on the boat has
kicked off the Year of the Beast and to celebrate this today Rona II has
hosted the first "Beastlympics". At the point of writing the score is The
Beast: 1 and The Crew: 2 with events consisting so far of holding a coiled
rope out in front of yourself for as long as possible (turns out Watch
Officers Nathan Meager and George Hopkins are pretty beasty themselves), a
lemon juice drinking competition and challenge involving moving peanuts from
one bowl to another with chopsticks and then eating them as fast as
possible. Little did I know spice girl Sam Nathan, named because he puts
Tabasco in literally every meal he's involved with, had spiked the peanuts
with some extremely spicy flavouring so all the crew came out begging for
water. I'm just letting my watch's creativity go a bit wild and just seeing
where it goes. But I'd like to give the crew of Rona II one piece of advice:
you don't mess with the Beast and come out the other side in one piece.
Watch this space...

Viking Chieftain Paul Wayman surprised everyone when he pulled 23 pairs of
chopsticks out of his bag this morning and challenged everyone to eat their
risotto lunch with these implements. 22 of the crew took this completely in
their stride and wolfed down their delicious lunch, however Matt Robinson
proved he is completely culturally unaware when he requested 3 pairs of
chopsticks just for himself. From these he held 4 in one hand and made some
kind of spoon-like implement and then held 2 in the other and used these as
a fork. He thought this was an ingenious idea despite the amount of abuse
being chucked at him.

We do dabble in some sailing too. We've been storming along today with the
top speed being 13.4kts, and have been consistently sailing above 9kts for
most of the day. Spinnakers have been up and down and we've tested out the
white sails as well. It's been a cracking day on deck made all the better
for seeing the sun for the first time in 6 days. This was much to the
excitement of everyone and before we knew it there were sunglasses, sextants
and mankinis out on deck. Looks at the moment like we're due in on the 17th,
we've got some exciting sailing ahead to say the least.

Calls of "Summon the Beast" are now echoing around the saloon and I can see
four bowls of cheesecake and Lewis tying back his hair. Something tells me
this is the challenge that they told me would require me to shower after.
Beast out.

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Rona II blog 23rd Aug 2017

> Disaster strikes! After arriving in the visitor marina of Le Havre at
> 0430,
> Rona II drove over a stray rope which had been left in the water.
> This tangled around the propeller, causing the Skipper to call for the
> anchor to be dropped a mere 10 metres from our intended mooring position.
> The crew then had to inflate the rubber dinghy and set world class rower
> Theo Darlow to take a line to shore where himself and Dr Sam Wareing
> pulled
> the boat in.
>
> In the morning, the afterguard set off to find a commercial diver to cut
> the
> rope free from the propeller. They located a man named Patrick, who
> arrived
> to the scene of the incident at about 1500 donning full scuba gear; he
> quickly got into the water and began working away at the stern of Rona II.
> After roughly 45 minutes of fishing bits of rope from the marina water,
> the
> crew saw Patrick emerge victorious. Angus Elliman used his bilingual
> …

No sailing, but a busy day aboard Rona II

This was a very French start to a very French day: at 0900 the Tricolor was
hoisted to signify the start of Bastille Day onboard Rona II. Our culinary
stars for the day, mother watch the Mayans, started well, with them
presenting the crew with great pancakes and only a small galley incident
that the mother watch insisted was "flambéing."

Matt (Woodcock - we've got three Matts...) was woken up for his watch to the
merry sound of mother watch singing Bonne Anniversaire and providing "le
porridge" to start his birthday. His card, beautifully drawn by Watch
Officer Nathan's sons Tay and Cai before we left, was also presented. Mother
watch in fact kept themselves very busy today by baking various cakes, three
excellent meals, and three varieties of bread, including a plaited loaf
"they quickly whipped up" between meals!

The skipper's quiz started today with a political history round featuring
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Spa day aboard the resolutely masculine Rona II...

As the sun crests the horizon, the crew of the 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 mistook
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…